The unsung heroes of open banking

Nathan Baranowski

FinTech

January 2018 saw the long-awaited introduction of PSD2, an initiative launched by the Competition and Markets Authority to give consumers and businesses better control over their financial data and make European payments services safer in general.

Once an unthinkable concept, open banking forces the UK’s nine biggest banks – Allied Irish Bank, Barclays, Bank of Ireland, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, RBS and Santander– to release their data in a secure way so that it can be shared more easily between organisations and help consumers make the right financial choices.

Driving a new era of banking

A year on, since the initiative became fully operational, the financial services sector has already experienced transformational change, with glamorous fin-tech start-ups such as Monzo taking centre stage in a new era of banking. Growing in popularity with each passing second, these cutting-edge, ‘challenger banks’ are seizing the opportunity created by technological advancement to bring consumers a streamlined and hyper-personalised experience.

From a consumer standpoint, these agile start-ups are the ones leading the charge in the transformation of the financial services sector – and they are, to a certain extent. What end-users may not see, however, is the real driving force powering open banking. Behind the scenes, specialist tech firms such as Envestnet | Yodlee, Token and TrueLayer have been working to create the platforms necessary for collaboration across the industry to deliver enhanced capabilities to the market.

But just who are these unsung heroes and how does their technology work?

Behind the scenes of fin-tech innovation

Through their unified Platform API, Envestnet | Yodlee bring together industry pioneers and global financial institutions to enable digital financial innovation across the globe. Aiming to make banking more profitable, and enhance the end-user experience, the company have developed APIs that allows developers secure access to financial data from over 18,000 data sources, including bank accounts, credit cards and investments.

These APIs safely expose data through permission-based screen scraping and direct data feeds. The company has set up with several major banks, for which it provides financial management technology and data services. On top of this, it provides additional tools to encourage entrepreneurs in the fin-tech space to launch disruptive products such as sample code, API library and a custom portal.

Meanwhile, award-winning company Token are charging ahead in their journey to create the world’s first bank-hosted payment system, designed with the digital age in mind. Today, their TokenOS platform aggregates over 4000 banks worldwide, combining open APIs, crypto-based security, programmable money and the digital tools that third-party developers need to innovate in a secure financial environment.

Hosted in the cloud, TokenOS creates the perfect conditions for financial institutions and fin-tech start-ups to drive personalisation to their products and services in order to deliver a unified customer experience.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that both innovators teamed up in late 2017 to combine their expertise in PSD2 compliant payments and financial data aggregation. The partnership  brings together Yodlee’s vast financial data platform with Token’s operating system to deliver the ultimate solution for banks and fin-tech developers.

“Both Token and Envestnet | Yodlee believe that open data access is critical in enabling innovative tools that can help consumers improve their financial lives,” said Jason O’Shaugnessy, Senior Vice President for EMEA and Australia at Envestnet | Yodlee.

“Our shared dedication to improving the banking end-user experience means that Token and Envestnet are a natural partnership, and it’s great to see Token leverage our financial data aggregation platform to deliver secure, customer-centric solutions to their clients,” he added.

The spotlight may be fixed on the challenger banks and their cutting-edge apps, but it’s these businesses who are capitalising on the regulatory rule-change to bring about biggest shake-up the banking sector has ever seen.

Do you have a fresh, innovative idea and now need the tech solution to back it up and make it a reality? We can help, and we’re not afraid of the impossible. To discuss your needs, get in touch at hello@ojosolutions.com or call the office on 01225 220155.

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