Financial services that come together and disband like a building game? This is the promise of open banking, a popular concept that could upset the world of banking and eventually emerge supermarkets’ virtual finance. Behind the Anglicism, a simple idea: it is the possibility offered to the companies – financial or not – to connect to the services of a bank, in a secure way, in order to develop their own applications by using the data of the customers with the agreement of these.
For consumers, this technology opens up vast opportunities: personalized discount coupons in their favorite stores, simpler online purchases, faster credit, personalized wealth advice, and more. All at the end of processes ultra-simplified and achievable in seconds on a mobile phone.
” What is fundamentally new (…) is the notion of customer data: knowing where the customer’s data is, considering that these data are the property of the customer and that he will be able to share them”, explains to the AFP Sébastien d’Ornano, General Manager of the Yomoni savings startup.
For several months, the sector is preparing for the implementation in September of the DSP2, European directive on payment services that will require all European financial institutions to open the payment data of their customers via APIs.
Banks in response
The use of APIs is not new: American digital giants such as Google or Facebook have made their mark by federating around them and through them gigantic service ecosystems. Many young innovative companies have also found a long-term means of accessing data by convincing some consumers to provide them with their bank access codes. But the entry into force of this directive should make it possible to generalize the practice and constitutes in itself a small revolution: forgotten the sacrosanct banking secrecy, in whose name the banks have jealously shut up their data jealously.
” The purpose is a financial service so personalized that the customer can benefit without making the slightest effort,” says AFP Svetlana Baranov, author of a book on the future of the banking sector. ” The customer will then use a service without realizing it, because it will be integrated with others, and its execution will be automated: these are the bases of ‘invisible finance’, and therefore of the idea that one can do the bank without the banks, “she adds.
This presupposes that traditional banking institutions rethink their place in finance, or else lose contact with their clients in the long term as new players become involved. The major European banks have reacted in recent years by multiplying acquisitions, by forming technological partnerships or even by creating their own open banking platforms.
” The economic model that is emerging today is a model in which one sells one’s own products, (…) one opens to sell the products of others and in which one can also” provide services to others, recently noted Ronan Le Moal, general manager of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa.
In the long run, some observers are betting on the emergence of large online financial supermarkets, like models developed by American Amazon or Chinese Alibaba. On these platforms, customers could build from A to Z their own offer of financial services via multiple providers and in the context of courses without heaviness: a booklet of savings at such, a credit card or insurance at another, all accessible and configurable on the same interface.
Remains that in France and Europe, ” there is still little,” complains to AFP Julien Maldonato, partner financial industry consulting at Deloitte, judging in particular that significant cultural barriers persist in large institutions. ” There is not yet this sense of urgency (…) There is not an awareness that the way of living the banking service will change very quickly and drastically,” he concludes.