Welcome to this first edition of API and Open Banking landscape - external insights, where we have collated interesting insights covering the wider gamut of APIs and Open Banking related use cases.
Open Banking enables the sharing of financial information electronically, securely, and under conditions that customers approve of.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. In the context of Open Banking it allows third parties to access financial information efficiently, which encourages the advancement of new apps and services.
Section 1: Covid-19
In the wake of Covid-19, we have seen vast swathes of companies across industries fulfilling the call to action to support consumers and businesses during the ongoing crisis - this is true too for those in the API & Open Banking universe. This edition picks out some examples from around the world where fintechs and major tech players alike are harnessing technology to support the vulnerable during these difficult times.
- UK fintech Tully helps distribute COVID-19 payment relief with a free-to-consumer digital outsourcing service to help companies register and validate customers who apply for financial relief.
- Spain's CaixaBank has moved to help retailers hit by the Covid-19 pandemic through the launch of technology that enables them to sell over social networks and messaging applications.
- Postman, the company behind the collaborative API development platform, is collection of API endpoints for tapping information about the outbreak such as a crowdsourced directory of testing locations and sharing of statistics from countries around the world.
- Wirecard, SAP and Futur/io launch ‘Innovation Now’ to assist merchants amid COVID-19 by offering a greater variety of payment methods such as Pay-by-Link and a Checkout Portal to get merchants set up online rapidly.
- Funding Options, a UK business loan marketplace, has adopted open banking technology in a bid to cut down on loan decision times by pre-approving loans from transaction history, as coronavirus puts new urgency on applications.
- UK business banking platform Tide has launched its Coronavirus Government Support Eligibility Checker to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) get access to the financial aid they need during this time of crisis.
- Fidel, a card-linking API provider, has partnered with Thyngs to allow charities to earn more from Gift Aid donations by letting customers know in real time whether they can add Gift Aid to transactions.
Section 2: Spotlight on the UK
Despite major setbacks caused by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, there is still much good news coming out of the UK fintech scene in recent weeks. From product launches through to new partnerships being struck during the crisis, it is evident that UK fintechs are looking to seize the opportunities presented by an increasingly digitalised landscape where the importance of serving customers online has never been more apparent.
- VibePay means business: the Gen Z payments pioneers have launched an open-banking powered business offer 3 months free during Covid-19, allowing brands to process frictionless checkout and subscription payments online, whilst giving them a gateway into their engaged Gen Z community.
- Neuros, a UK challenger bank still in the making, is set to launch later this year to help the country’s neurodiverse population, starting with autism sufferers. Their account will feature impulse control, granular personalisation and executive dysfunction.
- Flux and Pleo partner to deliver “invisible” expensing tool to UK SMEs with itemised digital receipts automatically linked to Pleo card spending. Pleo’s services are free for new business customers until 1 July to help in the fight against coronavirus.
- London startup Dzing, a new to market electronic money and payment institution, has released its first financial product, a mobile payment app for international currency transfers.
- Card consolidation app Curve has become one of the first firms in Europe to roll out numberless cards in a move it says boosts security and convenience.
Section 3: FinTech or TechFin?
There is much speculation as to the role that big technology companies (TechFin) will play in financial services in the coming years – both in terms of their ambitions and how they will navigate the regulatory landscape. With initial movements made in the cards & payments space, the major tech companies are demonstrating their appetite for the industry. The ongoing battle between Google, Apple, Samsung and Facebook to establish their respective digital wallets demonstrates that it will not be an easy journey - perhaps it will be those that best harness the valuable financial data they obtain that will come out on top.
- The tech giant Google is developing physical and virtual debit cards that will let users make in-person, in-app and online purchases and strengthen the Google Pay proposition.
- Chinese tech giant Huawei is set to launch its new consumer credit card both physically and virtually whereby its range of smartphones will lead the way in providing the new service.