Open banking is taking a firm hold in the UK, with user numbers doubling to two million in just over six months.
The latest figures from The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to deliver open banking in the UK, show a steady increase at a rate of around 160,000 users per month.
The upshift comes as more consumers seek to gain control over their own data in order to better manage their finances during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Research sponsored by Nesta Challenges’ Open Up 2020 Challenge, shows a sharp increase in the use of money management apps during the outbreak, of which 45% were 25-34-year-olds. According to the survey of 2000 UK adults in early July 2020, one in five started using online banking apps during lockdown and 54% now use them regularly.
Imran Gulamhuseinwala of the OBIE says: “Open Banking used to be the best kept secret in financial services. With 2 million active monthly users and growing strongly that is clearly no longer the case. We can now see that people want to exercise their rights over their data and will do so, as long as you make it simple and secure. Open banking enabled products are rebalancing the market in favour of consumers and small businesses. Users are now able to engage more with their finances and getting access to better products.”
The upswing coincides with the Government's launch of its National Data Strategy and publication of its response to the Smart Data Review, which recognised Open Banking as a leading example of Smart Data usage.
The UK Government is set to spur uptake further, following a recent £3 million tender for the implementation of open banking payment products at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
David Beardmore, OBIE ecosystem development director, comments: “ While open banking payments are currently a small proportion of open banking usage, recent strong growth is a sure sign that people welcome more payments choice. We predict that payments will eventually form a considerable proportion of our growing user numbers.”