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HMRC puts £3 million Open Banking project out to tender

HMRC puts £3 million Open Banking project out to tender

The UK tax authority has put out a £3 million tender for the provision of an Open Banking-based Payment Initiation and Account Information Service.

Her majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has worked with the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) on the procurement exercise, which is seen as a significant boost to the wider uptake of Open Banking services in the UK.

HMRC says the aim of the project is to make it easy for taxpayers to submit payments direct from their bank accounts, rather than through debit or credit card.

"Currently, our bank transfer journey is non-automated which can result in a high volume of customer errors which are resource intensive to rectify," states the body. "By providing an innovative, well designed journey that can be populated with our numerous reference formats and HMRC bank accounts, with little effort from our customers, we believe we can encourage card payers to move to this more cost-effective method and subsequently reduce our payment associated costs significantly."

HMRC adds that Account Information Services will enable it to access customers' transactional data to deliver "enhanced and tailored financial services".

Bidders must be registered and authorised by Financial Conduct Authority and certified by and enrolled with the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE). The supplier will be expected to have connection to a high percentage of UK banks, at minimum the CMA9 - representing the UK's major banks and building societies.

Successful bidders will need to cope with the HMRC's peaks throughout the year and increased volumes during the contract period and implement delivery following Agile methods within six weeks of the award.

Up to ten bidders will be selected to proceed to the award stage. Applications for the contract, which will start in 2021 and run for two years, close on 7 September.

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 September, 2020, 10:131 like 1 like

Open Banking has been recognised by the UK Government as something that will deliver multiple benefits. This is the culmination of many sessions and engagements with multiple departments and is a credit to their teams to recognise and invest in the Standards. I look forward to many more good news stories. Open Banking is coming. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 September, 2020, 10:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I hope that the major card schemes and any other entities in which they have a sizeable share are blocked from tendering otherwise it'll simply consolidate their dominant position even further.

David Gyori
David Gyori - BANKING REPORTS, LONDON - London 04 September, 2020, 11:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Agree with Simon. 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 07 September, 2020, 13:20Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

When I filed Income Tax Return in UK, I didn't have to pay tax since I was eligible for Refund, so I don't recall what were the payment methods supported for paying tax. But, going by this article, it would appear that only card payments are supported. In India, for over a decade, we've been having a payment method called Bank Transfer / NetBanking whereby we log in to our online bank account, see a prefilled screen and initiate a payment within the same tax filing session. This payment method exists for not just income tax but all kinds of government and private sector merchant payments. And the thing is, all this has been working fine for over 10 years without any EU-style Open Banking in place. 

While this is surely a use case for Open Banking in UK, I'm not sure if it comes anywhere close to an achievement of the mission of Open Banking. Also, if Open Banking is implemented true to its charter, it should be extremely easy for HMRC tax filing system to directly consume the APIs of different bank systems. I don't get why another set of Middleman is required between HMRC system and Banks under Open Banking regime.

Andrew Carmichael
Andrew Carmichael - Creative Process - London 07 September, 2020, 18:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

without wanting to be too critical but £3million - just open a Paypal account in the name of UK gov?  -  I spent ages on the phone the other day sorting out a minor underpayment of NI contributions and when we finally got to the right number (not the number that was showing on the website) I said can I pay that with a card - the response was if I had suggested confiscating her firstborn - no we can't do that - I can give you bank details and you can make the transfer - how come Bobs garage round the corner can take card payments, secure and instantly verifiable, but the UK gov has to spend £3million??