Simply completes first deal enabled by open banking technology

Source: Simply

Simply, the SME funder, announced today that it has just completed its first deal enabled by open banking technology.

The customer, who was talking to Simply about a funding package, was asked to provide permission for the lender to access her banking data. She was sent a link to authorise, and within minutes, Simply was able to obtain the statements - removing the need for the individual to email or print them. This information, alongside a dashboard with categorised data and analytics, was then immediately made available to the underwriting team to aid speed of decisioning.

Andy Trimmer, head of technology, Simply said: “We are continually growing our customer-focussed offering and delivering open banking is a key step on this journey. Our customers now have a hassle-free and secure way of providing banking documents to us and using it to help get a decision on the funding they want. By using this technology, we are providing superior customer service, enabling both speed and efficiency, whilst going further to ensure the safety of our customers data.”

Ylva Oertengren, COO, Simply commented: “Our aim is to help entrepreneurs realise their potential. Too often, SMEs’ credit applications are declined because their businesses don’t fit a scorecard. We know that credit scores alone do not tell you everything you need to know about SMEs. This is why we are constantly seeking better ways to use data to improve our service. Open banking gives us the insight we need and makes the journey quicker and easier for the customer.”

Simply has been able to capitalise on the benefits of open banking through a partnership with AccountScore, an analytics business that provides insights based on open banking. AccountScore and Simply have embarked on a journey to enable Simply to take advantage of an innovative blend of open banking data and business insight information, tying all relevant data together through a single integration, all with the aim to create an outstanding customer experience.

What is open banking?
Since January 2018, open banking technology has grown from strength to strength becoming part of the UK’s everyday life. It allows companies, banks and building societies, permission to access individuals’ account details electronically and securely. Open banking has shown itself to be reliable, trusted, transparent and, most importantly, it puts the account owner back in control.

Why did open banking come about?
Because data was already being provided by the customer to businesses and the way they did this wasn’t always safe.

With technology increasingly enabling efficiencies in business, saving time in the process of getting and analysing key facts was the obvious next step in terms of automation. However, this came at an, often unseen, cost to the customer.

Many companies initially used screen scraping technologies allowing third parties to access individuals’ financial data by logging into internet banking portals on their behalf. Unlike open banking, this involved the customer actively providing them with their account details.

The government rightly recognised that the moment this happens, control moves from the customer to the third party and something needed to be done to make the customers and their data safe.

Open banking was introduced two years ago as a result of the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) requirement for the UK's nine largest banks to 'open up' their customers' financial data with the consent of customers. This was requested so that approved third parties could access this data in a secure and standardised way.

Now, nearly 40 more banks have signed up voluntarily to offer better customer experiences and to keep customers in control.

What are the benefits of open banking?
Open banking allows lenders to use the data to develop insights and a better understanding of customers, which in turn will lead to better products and services being available. It ensures that customers have digital channel to share their banking information and gives them that security that they are entitled to.

Open banking also provides a quick and simple way of getting access to complex finance. Customers can provide the data required quickly, and in a simple, guided way, meaning SMEs in particular are able to obtain the finance they deserve, when and where they need it. The information enables a more holistic view of the company’s financials, meaning finance companies don’t have to rely on a credit score which so often isn’t modelled on the true picture of an SME.

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