At its heart, open banking requires financial institutions to share customer data with third-party developers via APIs. It is intended to boost transparency, increase competition and partnerships as well as create improved service levels.
However, for banks to be truly successful, the APIs they create need to go beyond compliance alone. Box-ticking to satisfy the regulators won’t offer any competitive advantage as open banking becomes widespread. Key to this will be getting their APIs into more delivery chains by designing them to be discoverable and reusable.
In the UK, where open banking is well underway, the push is largely being led by HSBC, who published the first open banking API. With APIs, HSBC is unlocking its backend systems and connecting them with trusted third-parties to develop a range of new customer-facing services, such as a consumer app that can aggregate data from 21 rival banks.
By securely opening up their APIs through an application network, traditional banks can behave more like Silicon Valley start-ups, creating new revenue channels by sharing their core banking capabilities and customer base with authorized innovation partners. For example, MasterCard has turned many of its core services into a platform of APIs and is growing an ecosystem around its capabilities. The Mastercard Travel Recommender allows travel agents and transport providers to access customer spending patterns through its APIs and to offer customers targeted recommendations for restaurants, attractions and activities based on their previous behavior.
As banks embark into this brave new world, it’s critical that they understand going it alone will not deliver value for customers and may see them leaving altogether for a nimbler competitor. However, there are huge gains to be made for those bold enough to reimagine their business as a platform and embrace the change that lies ahead.
See more: Open banking platform strategy