The UK government has promised to work with banks and fintech firms to have a detailed framework set out for an open API standard by the end of the year, in a move it claims will empower consumers and boost competition.
At the end of this month the government's midata initiative will launch, enabling Brits to download a year’s worth of their current account transactional data in a single file that can be read by online tools.
This, along with a new Gocompare current account comparison tool, will make it easier for users to see where they can get the best deals, forcing banks to work harder to retain customers, argues a new government report into banking in the 21st century.
However, chancellor George Osborne has already set out plans to go further through an open API (application programing interface) standard in UK banking.
Last month the government launched a 'call for evidence' on the benefits of greater data sharing and use of open data in banking, noting that although APIS are being used, a lack of standardisation is hindering their potential.
Standardisation would allow the development of third-party apps that are compatible with the systems of all UK banks, and that can securely use customer banking data, with their
A common API standard would have particular benefits for product comparisons, says the report, improving on midata by being more user-friendly, taking into account a wider range of data, and being much more customisable.
"Going beyond comparisons, the potential range of applications is limited only by app developers’ imaginations, ranging from apps that can work out where you like to eat out and email you special offers, to apps that can turn saving into a game with achievements unlocked as personal milestones are reached, and beyond."
Read the Banking for the 21st Century report: » Download the document now 521.3 kb (PDF File)