In 2017, before Open Banking was introduced, we launched an initial Numbrs pilot in the UK. While our technology was ready and users were able to add their British bank accounts to Numbrs, the banks’ APIs and the legislative basis weren’t. In consequence, we decided to hold off, follow the progress of Open Banking closely, improve and enhance the Numbrs App in the meanwhile and prepare for our official launch in the UK.
Now, with Open Banking in place, we have planned our roadmap to release an improved version of Numbrs in the UK with seamless bank integration of all major UK banks and many new features. But what is Open Banking exactly and why is it so important?
The UK Version of PSD2
As a measure to rekindle competition in the financial sector and strengthen the position of customers as well as fintech companies all over Europe, the EU drafted the Payment Services Directive 2, in short PSD2. These were its three main requirements:
- Open APIs. All european banks are required to implement a standardised interface. This lets account holders access their transaction data across multiple platforms including third party companies, such as Numbrs.
- Strong customer authentication. For standardised APIs to be successful, user data needs to be protected and user identification needs to be 100% secure. For this reason, strong customer authentication was introduced for users to access and control their account data.
- User consent. In addition to strong customer authentication, banks cannot share data with other parties without the explicit consent of the user. The user needs to be informed up front about the data they are about to share.
While PSD2 took the right approach and undoubtedly posed a necessary step, the regulatory framework and technical specifications were left up to different EU entities, and the directive was passed with ambiguities. This left room for interpretation by each bank in the technical implementation of their API. In the UK however, the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) was formed to define not just the legal framework of Open Banking, but also the technical specifications.
Open Banking Makes The Difference
The more unified approach in the UK has resulted in a much more homogeneous API landscape across UK banks, giving fintechs the opportunity to innovate quicker and build more reliable services, ultimately resulting in greater benefits to the user. Good for Numbrs. But the real question is – how well does Open Banking work for our specific purposes?
Up to The Test For Numbrs
When we launched our first initial pilot in the UK 3 years ago, we realised quickly that the digital infrastructure in place couldn’t live up to our demands. Now, with a matured Open Banking standard, we want to make sure nonetheless that we can provide a seamless experience to our users. After all, users can only manage all their finances with Numbrs, if they can connect with all of their bank accounts and digital accounts smoothly. For this reason our road map includes an Alpha test as well as a Beta test. This way we not only receive the opportunity to meticulously test the Open Banking standard and receive feedback from our UK community at an early stage, but can live up to our own demand for quality. When we launch Numbrs in the UK, we don’t just want it to be functional, we want to provide the best app on the market for users to manage their personal finances. And as our first tests have shown, Open Banking is working to our advantage.
If you want to be among the first to benefit from our UK release, simply download the Numbrs app now and receive the update as soon as it becomes available.
In the meanwhile, you can stay up to date on our progress by activating our Numbrs Newsletter inside the app.