UK’s open banking service to go live in January 2018
The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the body created by personal and small business current account providers, has confirmed that the UK will be the first nation to launch open banking when its service goes live in early 2018.

Via open banking, customers can, if they choose, use services from a range of different types of regulated companies without the need to share credentials with any third parties.

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, trustee of the OBIE, says the goal of the initiative is to “allow consumers and small businesses the option to securely and safely make the most of their financial data” and “in time, open banking will give consumers and small businesses more choice, better services and cheaper products”.

The first set of APIs will go live to third party providers on 13 January. Every company has to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or another European regulator.

OBIE says for the first six weeks, the companies offering the services will be asked to limit the number of instructions processed and only make it available to a small group of selected customers.

This enables authorised third parties to be sure that their products and services are working as intended; and for banks and building societies to be certain that they can manage volumes appropriately.

OBIE was created by the UK’s nine “largest” personal and small business current account providers (the CMA9) in 2016, after an inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) determined that open banking “could bring new competition and innovation to an industry it felt needed shaking up”.

While the initial launch covers personal and small business accounts – as mandated by the CMA in 2016 – the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s November Budget announced that the CMA9 have committed to extending the standards to cover all products with payments capability such as credit cards and e-wallets throughout the course of 2018 and 2019 (in alignment with PSD2).

Also today (19 December), and in relation to its Retail Banking Market Investigation Order and the open banking service, the CMA says five banks told it that they would not be able to release all of these data sets by the specified date.

These are Bank of Ireland, Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Santander. The CMA says it has issued each of these banks with directions stipulating the timeline for the delivery of the outstanding data sets and the arrangements that each must make for reporting progress to the CMA in the meantime.