This month sees the first anniversary of Open Banking, a set of reforms aimed at increasing competition in the UK’s banking sector and providing more choice for consumers.
While consumer awareness of the reforms remains low and while the big banks have been slow to embrace them, there are in fact plenty of ways in which banking customers can benefit already from them.
At its simplest, Open Banking provides a secure and easy way for consumers to choose to give financial providers permission to access their financial information (such as their spending behaviour). The idea is to give consumers a say over the sharing of their banking data with third parties - it’s their data, after all, and should be used for their benefit - while at the same time allowing digital banks and fintech firms to develop consumer-facing retail banking services and apps that use this data to help customers manage their money better.
One example of this is the Marketplace from Starling Bank, leading UK mobile-only bank offering personal, joint and business accounts. Rather than upselling their own financial products, Starling gives customers seamless access to a curated selection of products and services all from its banking app. Personal customers can access bill management apps, insurance, mortgage brokers or online investment providers, while business customers can integrate with online accounting software providers such as Xero.
Once the Starling customer has given permission, the partner can pull data from Starling such as name and address to speed up the sign-up process. In addition, customers can then choose to share data from several partners back into their Starling app. This allows the Starling app to become an easy to access and secure hub that provides a holistic understanding of their financial lives: ISA, pension and current account balances can be displayed alongside their life insurance or phone insurance details.
Starling is opening doors for customers to connect with best in class products on the market - a collaborative approach to other full-service banks.
Find out more about Starling Bank, visit www.starlingbank.com.