FEATURE18 April 2018

Open for business

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Features Finance Impact Privacy UK

Open banking began across Europe in January, but awareness is low among British consumers. Ipsos Mori conducted a study to shed light on open banking perceptions and identify people’s primary concerns. Ben Bold reports

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Banks and openness have not, historically, made good bedfellows. Whether it’s the notion of a bank vault securely containing a person’s life savings, or some of the opaque practices of banks – such as charging customers exorbitant unauthorised-overdraft fees that would cause a payday lender to blush – ‘closed’ is surely a better descriptor.

However, new EU legislation, PSD2, and a demand by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that banks, with the permission of their customers, share customer data with other parties, has led to the birth of a new concept and an eponymous non-profit organisation — Open Banking.

The body’s remit is to encourage innovation and produce data-sharing technology (called APIs), transparency and competition. Or, in the words of its head of propositions, Miles Cheetham: “To create a much more level playing field between financial services companies and big brands, and break the stranglehold the nine largest banks have ...