Back to Insights AUTHOR
Imran Ali
DATE PUBLISHED
21.07.17

Open Banking is not about technology, it’s about the customer

You have probably seen a number of blogs, articles, interviews, and discussions on Open Banking - the single biggest shake up of the Banking sector for decades. But all these discussions are centered around the technology that enables Open Banking, namely APIs. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have forgotten about the customer.

At the start and end of every transaction is a customer, whether it be a person or a company. Irrespective of what happens in the middle, it is the value derived by that customer which defines how successful the transaction is. You could have the best looking juicer, connected to the Internet and able to check your contents haven’t expired or been recalled, but if it doesn’t squeeze juice any better than your hands then it isn’t giving much value to the customer.

So, the debate needs to turn to the customer rather than the security standard, important as it is. The Open Up Challenge is a step in the right direction. It’s a competition that encourages companies to think of new products that could benefit small businesses, by using Open Banking. But further work needs to be done.

Here at Answer Digital we use a framework called Answer Insights. It is designed to bring the customer to the centre of the conversation and drive the product idea from there. So, if we were to apply it to Open Banking we would look at the typical daily interactions a person has, and drive product ideas from there:

Scenario 1: Customer buys a coffee in the morning

Open Banking value: Seamless payment through tapping mobile on pad, enabling payment directly from bank account

Scenario 2: Customer is browsing the window display of a shoe shop

Open Banking value: Based on their location, and transaction history showing they like to buy shoes, customer is offered a one time discount if they buy today from the shop

Scenario 3: Customer is browsing social media

Open Banking value: Customer feed includes suggestions on a cheaper gas provider, based on their location, likely size of property, and current payments to existing provider

By driving the solution from the perspective of the customer the conversation about design, UI, process, and technology change dramatically. It’s no longer about finding a need based on a technical standard, it’s now about using technology to solve a customer need. The user interface and user journey become paramount and the technology behind the scenes is just the enabler. And Open Banking becomes relevant to other sectors, such as Retail.

Imran is an expert in the payments and fintech industry, based in our London office at The Shard. He brings a wealth of experience in financial services, and an extensive network. Imran has worked at Citibank, Bank of America, Vocalink, and most recently was Head of UK Product at HSBC.

If you want to discover how Open Banking can help you maximise the value for your customers get in touch with our Heads of Finance, Chris Neal and Imran Ali, today.