Open Banking: User Experience Over Technology

What is it? There’s a lot of chatter about 'Open Banking' in the UK, a new world where our banks and other regulated organisations will be able to share, access and orchestrate our banking information to help us make better product decisions, save money and reduce unnecessary administration.

Just as importantly, it is aimed to dilute the control of the major banking players and allow smaller challenger banks and other 3rd party financial organisations to compete and offer innovative solutions.

Opening Banking has been live since the first half of 2018 and in January 2019 alone, over 23m successful Open banking API calls were made, representing around 30% growth over the previous month.

However, a survey from consumer group Which? found that 92% of respondents hadn’t even heard of it. Other polls suggest people find the idea of data sharing scary.

So like all new technological paradigms, it’s critical to get away from the tech itself and to focus on the function and potential benefits.

They don’t need to know what it is; they need to know what it can do for them.

Think of digital music. For years it was possible to digitise music, store it all on a computer and get rid of all of your physical CDs. That was the technology behind it, and the concept didn’t really become mainstream until the true “function” was clear to all.

Streaming services and playing music on mobile devices only became common when everyone learned (not just the early adopters) that with little effort they could carry their music library around, adding to it easily at any time. It’s only the past few years that this is process is so mainstream. Once a person knows what the technology can do for them, they can fully consider the risk vs. reward of allowing access to their data.

Do you want to be able to manage your finances in one place, and see all of your accounts in one simple view? Do you want to understand if you can save money by managing your finances in a different way?

If the answer is yes, then in the words of the Open Banking website:

“You choose which regulated apps and websites you want to use – so you’re always in charge. You decide what information they can access, and for how long. No one gets access unless you say so.”

In short, widespread adoption will depend on how service providers guide the customer to a new service, make the case for why data sharing is required and at the same time explain the controls that put them in control of the interaction.

We at Alogent focus on digital ecosystems from the user perspective. Once a user knows that their app can seamlessly connect their invoicing and payments processing, then the reward is known and the process of allowing access to their banking data no longer feels scary.