Open data could transform banking, new report finds

Research conducted by the ODI into the UK banking sector, in collaboration with Fingleton Associates, was published this week by HM Treasury.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the report ‘Data sharing and Open Data for Banks’ during his annual Autumn Statement.

Commissioned by HM Treasury, the report focuses on how far competition, transparency and customer satisfaction could be boosted if banks published non-personal data as open data, and allowed their customers to share their transaction data with third parties, using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

The report details the benefits of open data to consumers, in particular, how the resulting culture of transparency would encourage banks to be more competitive with their prices. The report explores how open data could help customers to compare and analyse their banking data to ensure they are receiving the best deal for their money. Only 2-3% of bank consumers in the UK currently switch their accounts to an alternative banking institution.

If UK banks were to adopt the open data recommendations set out in the report, more consumers would have access to information about banks before joining them, and would therefore not be burdened by the cost of switching providers.

Jeni Tennison, Technical Director at the ODI believes the report will help to deliver a more transparent and accessible relationship between UK banks and their consumers.

“We are excited by the prospect of the HM Treasury exploring the recommendations we delivered. Consumers can only benefit from being able to access their own banking information via APIs.”

Early next year, HM Treasury will launch a call for evidence to explore how the recommendations can be adopted and delivered by UK banks to ensure openness in their transactions with their customers.

Download the full report for more.