Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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OBIE launches Open Banking app store

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has launched an online app store to help customers and businesses navigate the multitude of Open Banking-enabled financial products.

17th Jun 2020
Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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Open Banking app store logo.
openbanking.org

Set up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2016 to deliver Open Banking to the UK, The OBIE has introduced an app store to catalogue the plethora of Open Banking products available.

The app store allows users to compare nearly 70 services and products ranging from accountancy and tax to payments, debt advice, budgeting, borrowing and financial safeguarding. New products and services are being added weekly, with the aim to support the UK Open Banking ecosystem.

According to Dr Louise Beaumont, techUK Open Banking & payments chair, “It has the ambition to become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for Open Banking propositions. And, let’s face it, Open Banking is always going to be niche if you compare it to the ‘everything for everyone’ nature of the Apple Store and Google Play.” 

Beaumont added that it “may prove to be a simple accelerator for what is still, after all these years, an emerging technology”.

Pushing adoption

OBIE figures show that the use of Open Banking in the UK has now surpassed 1m customers, having doubled since January. The app store launch is intended to push adoption and provide an equal playing field for fintechs, banks and accounting platforms.

“Consumers and SMEs need more clarity than ever on how to manage their finances through this difficult time,” said OBIE ecosystem development director Davie Beardmore. “With the number of banks and fintechs offering Open Banking-enabled products growing so rapidly, deciphering the advantages of each product can seem daunting.” 

With app store launch, Beardmore added, “We are enabling individuals and businesses to find the financial products that are best suited to their situation.”

The Open Banking objective

The CMA head of open banking Dr Bill Roberts said: “We hope that OBIE’s new app store will make [these new and innovative apps] even easier to find, so that people can access simple and secure tools to help manage their money.”

For Louise Beaumont at techUK, however, the big question is: “How much of a difference does it make? The OBIE is not just counting how many companies are listing propositions, they are also tracking how many times apps are downloaded. So check back in three months and we’ll see if it’s taking off.”

According to PwC research, 82% of UK consumers are still unaware of Open Banking, which has not helped overcome business distrust and could hold back consumer use of OBIE’s app store. Many small firms have expressed concerns over data privacy.

Payment Initiation Service from TrueLayer

Meanwhile, the UK government has approved financial API provider TrueLayer’s request to offer its Payment Initiation Service (PIS) to the public sector. As part of the government’s Payment Acceptance Framework, all government bodies can use TrueLayer’s API to immediately and securely receive payments.

The service does not require credit or debit cards, so public sector employees with limited authorisation will get the ability to access government services without outreaching their authority.

TrueLayer claims to have a lower transaction fee than most payment methods.

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