It’s that time of year where the voices of earnest business initiatives may struggle to be heard above the cacophony of festive karaoke singing. Given the right circumstances, I may even warble a bit of Curtis Mayfield myself (“Move On Up. Towards your destination,
though you may find from time to time some complication…”).
The party-goers at UK HMRC Treasury seem to have embraced a more popular tune. I can visualise an enthusiastic group of hand-clappers singing “…It might seem crazy, but here comes some news, talking this and that. Give me all you’ve got, and don't hold back.
… Because I am API…Clap along if you feel like API-ness is the truth”.
I may have slightly misheard Pharrell Williams’ lyrics, but his wise words seem to echo last week’s call to action to UK banks. The intention is to create an environment where financial technology companies can develop innovative solutions for consumers
of banking and payments products. It is hard to argue against this spirit of openness.
I’d welcome a personalised assistant that looked at my basket of transactions and worked out the best deals in terms of fees, rates and offers. I’d also be willing to dabble in new automated payment apps. For example I learned of a great alarm clock app
last week where a fixed donation is made to a third party, e.g. a chosen charity, every time you press the snooze button on your iPhone.
Rather like Christmas, it may be difficult for everyone to join in on the fun. Many banks are already struggling to keep pace with an existing regulatory agenda and grappling with internal systems that barely talk to each other.
So being asked to offer a friendly API hand to external businesses may elicit a “Bah Humbug” response.
Forward-thinking banks that have renovated their core systems with service oriented components will be most accommodating. New entrants and challenger banks will also be happy. To quote Mr Williams again “I should probably warn you it will be just fine”.