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UK government consults on bank data-sharing plans

Matthew Finnegan | Feb. 2, 2015
Open data will support fintech startup community, says minister.

The UK government has launched a consultation on plans to open banks' data to third parties in order to create innovative new services.

The project to deliver an open standard for application programming interfaces (APIs) in the finance sector was highlighted as part of chancellor George Osborne's Budget speech last year. The aim is to increase competition in the sector and support financial technology companies in building innovative services around bank data, such as comparison sites.

For instance, this could mean the creation of an application to show that a person who shops regularly at a supermarket would benefit from a current account offered by a retailer, which may offer reward or loyalty points.

The call for evidence, launched by the government yesterday, seeks views from interested parties on issues such as how open APIs can benefit bank customers, as well as how the API can best be delivered.

A previous report from Open Data Institute and consultancy firm Fingleton Associates noted that legacy infrastructure owned by some banks could struggle with the extra demand from such services.

Opening up bank data could also benefit the booming fintech sector, the government said.

"Key to our long term economic plan is making Britain the global centre for financial technology, or FinTech, and innovation," said City Minister Andrea Leadsom.

"Making it easier for customers to use their data in more effective or creative ways can help achieve this, and we think the benefits and opportunities for customers could be huge."

"Greater use of data is also about making banks work harder to win customers' business through enabling new providers to enter the market more freely."

The deadline for response is 25 February.

 

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