Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

UK moves to align open banking reforms with PSD2

Out-Law News | 23 Nov 2017 | 5:00 pm | 2 min. read

The UK's open banking regime is to be expanded to apply to all payment accounts that fall within the scope of new EU payment services laws, the body set up to enable the reforms has said.

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) said the changes mean that "customers using credit cards, e-wallets and prepaid cards will also be able to take advantage of open banking services" in future.

The open banking reforms were mandated by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) at the end of a review it conducted into retail banking. Its vision is for open APIs to be developed to allow third parties to access bank systems at the request of customers so that they can provide a wider range of services to those customers using the account data banks hold. The OBIE is responsible for implementing the reforms and is leading on the development of new standards that will support the use of open APIs.

Originally, the open banking reforms were targeted at improving competition in the UK's personal and business current account markets, but the government said it had obtained a commitment from the largest nine UK banks to which the reforms apply to expand the scope to other payment accounts.

The move will bring developments in open banking in the UK into line with the EU's revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Both the open banking reforms and PSD2 are due to take effect from 13 January 2018.

The OBIE said that the CMA had also "approved amendments to the agreed arrangements" under its open banking order. The changes "include a programme of enhancements to ensure that open banking delivers maximum benefits for retail customers and SMEs", it said. The details are set out in a revised timetable and project plan for open banking in the UK (3-page / 634KB PDF).

OBIE trustee Imran Gulamhuseinwala said: "This is a truly innovative project and the UK is leading the world in opening up the banking system to new services and, ultimately, re-shaping it around the customer.  Key to any innovation is the process of discovery and it became clear through the second half of 2017 that there is much more the OBIE could do to drive adoption of open banking and create a richer environment for new services.  These enhancements should give even greater confidence to the fintech community to seize the opportunity to participate fully in the financial services ecosystem."

"They will create standards for future dated, recurring and international payments as well as all the payment and product types covered by PSD2. These enhancements will maximise the benefits of open banking services for the customer," he said.

Adam Land, senior director at the CMA, said the announcement of the changes to the open banking initiative is a "major milestone" in the delivery of the regime.

"This will make it easier for customers to manage their money, find the best deal for their needs and avoid overdraft charges," Land said. "There is huge interest globally in the way that UK regulators have worked together with the banking industry, the fintech sector, consumer groups and others to drive this project forward at pace. This plan, which the CMA has approved today, is both deliverable and bold in scope.”

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