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UK Government launches call for evidence on banking APIs

02 February 2015  |  14387 views  |  8 London - Big Ben

The UK Government has formally launched a 'call for evidence' on the benefits of greater data sharing and use of open data in banking, as part of moves to support the growth of Britain’s emerging fintech sector and deliver better deals for customers.

As part of the call for evidence, the Government is setting out its aim to create a freely-accessible standard for developing software that enables customers to share their bank data with other products or services they use. By creating an open standard for developing APIs, the Government wants to encourage more banks and fintech firms to work together to devise new ways to use bank data that benefit customers.

As an example, it cites the use of a smartphone app which links the customer’s GPS data and banking information to provide advice on what products or services that customer may like to buy in any given area. This could include advice on whether or not they could buy a cheaper coffee, or to forgo it altogether if they have exceeded their pre-set budget for that month.

City Minister Andrea Leadsom says: "Key to our long term economic plan is making Britain the global centre for financial technology, or fintech, and innovation. Making it easier for customers to use their data in more effective or creative ways can help achieve this, and we think the benefits and opportunities for customers could be huge."

The Government is calling for views from a wide range of sources including the public, fintech firms, app designers, as well as the financial services industry during the four-week consultation period.
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Comments: (8)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 02 February, 2015, 11:50

It's good to know that, once the Government has mandated that we spend millions on reinventing banking data APIs (oi Gov, just Google it, will ya?), customers will be able to shave 2p off the price of a coffee, or be nagged not to buy it in the first place. 

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Alex Letts
Alex Letts - U - Sheffield | 02 February, 2015, 11:51

This is a great step forward.  (And here is the link http://bit.ly/16kv7Oz).  Ffrees supports the Open Banking API and will be reaching out to the developer community Q2 once we have it in place.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 02 February, 2015, 14:52

Anyone has an idea how to get in touch with the responsible people?

Thanks

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Alex Letts
Alex Letts - U - Sheffield | 02 February, 2015, 15:16

I should have added that we support the Open Bank Project http://p2pfoundation.net/Open_Bank_Project.  Speak to Simon Redfern.

I suspect the UK Govt will try to do something different.....

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 03 February, 2015, 09:25

The concept is fantastic. The practicalities for establishing a common format across all (UK, European..??) banks is unrealistic. Its a retail play by a government which already looks like massive investment for a minimal return both for the banks and potential users. Leave retail to retailers and promote investment in fintech across the UK - we have one of the most dynamic technology markets across the globe which if nurtured by the government, will drive evolution for both banks/FI's and customers alike

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Tom Hay
Tom Hay - Icon Solutions Ltd - London | 03 February, 2015, 09:31

I wonder how this relates to the APIs to be defined by the EBA for PSD2 Payment Initiation Service Providers and Account Information Service Providers? It would be unfortunate if the APIs were incompatible, so UK banks had to implement both.

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Alex Letts
Alex Letts - U - Sheffield | 03 February, 2015, 09:40

Richard hi

I could not disagree more actually :)

There are common processes which all current accounts have (pay in, pay out, view statement, create standing order etc etc etc).  It is absolutely possible to create a standard set of APIs for these actions and indeed it has already been done certainly in part by the OB Project.  The implausible bit is the willingness or ability even of major institutions to be able to securely offer acces to these actions, given the constraints of both their IT and their strategic objectives. Look out for security being used as the m,ain reason for scepticism, when there may be other more self-serving corporate reasons that will really be at play!  

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Daniel Turnbull
Daniel Turnbull - HM Treasury - London | 04 February, 2015, 10:09

Hi all - I am part of the team working on this at the Treasury. It's great to see this work has stimulated some lively debate. You can read our Call for Evidence, Data Sharing and Open Data in Banking on the gov.uk website. And you can get in touch with the team at datasharing.cfe@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk Please share your views and expertise.

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