The UK Government is to launch a 'Call for Evidence' on how APIs could be used in banking to improve transparency and help customers compare financial services providers.
The call to action on bank APIs was among a raft of new initiatives outlined in the Chancellor's annual Autumn statement to Parliament.
The Government believes that open application programming interfaces "will enable financial technology companies to develop innovative solutions to allow customers to make better comparisons between different banks and financial products".
In a first step to improving transparency, HMRC Treasury has announced that Gocompare will be the first comparison website to use its midata tool to download customer bank data and pick the account best suited to individual consumer needs. Customers will be able to download a year's worth of their current account data in a single file that can be read by Gocompare and used to find the best service.
The Autumn Statement also signaled an upgrade to the seven-day Current Account Switch Service to include 99% of all SMEs and an extension of the redirection service to 36 months, with delivery scheduled for March 2015. In addition, the Chancellor has asked the Financial Conduct Authority to examine whether a five-day switching period would deliver significant benefits to consumers and advise on this question before Budget 2015.
The government also announced its intention to review financial regulation which currently stands in the way of institutional lending through P2P platforms and introduce a number of reforms to taxes to encourage more people into the alternative finance sector.