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Open Banking gets its very own App Store

OBIE
(Image credit: OBIE)

The UK’s Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has unveiled an official App Store, aimed at giving fans of financial services apps that use Open Banking APIs a one-stop solution.

While the range of available apps currently numbers just over 50 more are due to be added over time. The user-friendly store is divided into three main category areas including Consumer, Business and Technical Services.

There are searchable categories within the core sections. The consumer category is home to bank account aggregators, debt advice, investment tools, mortgages, charitable giving, financial safeguarding, loans/automatic overdraft borrowing, personal finance tools, credit file enhancement, foreign exchange, micro savings/account sweeping and product comparison tools.

Growing market

Unsurprisingly, some of the major banks are represented, including RBS, Barclays and Halifax, but the App Store also contains lots of lesser-known but no less useful software applications. There’s the quirky Nude, which is a savings account aimed at first-home buyers. Meanwhile, personal finance tools such as Cake, which aims to bring all of your existing bank accounts and transactions together in one place, or the real-time payments app Banked : round out the growing selection.

The Business category covers accountancy and tax, debt management, loans and alternative lending, cash flow, e-commerce payment, SME financial management, consent management and identity verification. There’s everything from ApTap, which builds white-labelled financial management API's through to more familiar names such as ClearBooks and Xero.

Technical Services has just 9 app entries currently, including BanqUp, an API platform and a TPP-as-a-service tool, FriendlyScore an Account Information Service Provider (AISP) and OpenWorks, which builds the technology that makes Open Banking work amongst others.

Earlier this year, the number of customers using Open Banking-enabled products reached one million, doubling in the previous six months. OBIE, the body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to deliver Open Banking in the UK, hopes to boost interest with the new dedicated app store.

David Beardmore, Ecosystem Development Director, Open Banking Implementation Entity, said: “Consumers and SMEs need more clarity than ever on how to manage their finances through this difficult time. With the number of banks and fintechs offering Open Banking-enabled products growing so rapidly, deciphering the advantages of each product can seem daunting.

With the launch of the Open Banking App Store, we are enabling individuals and businesses to find the financial products that are best suited to their situation by helping them narrow down their options and see what’s out there. Better knowledge and greater awareness equate to more power in the hands of customers.”

Dr Bill Roberts, Head of Open Banking at the CMA, said“The CMA originally recommended Open Banking as a way to help personal and small business customers access new and innovative apps that can tailor services, information and advice to their individual needs.

We hope that OBIE’s new App Store will make these services even easier to find, so that people can access simple and secure tools to help manage their money.”

Matthew Evans, Director of Markets, techUK, said: “It is vital that we develop digital solutions to help people and businesses securely access funds and manage their finances whenever needed. Open Banking is a solution to achieving financial inclusion and better and simpler financial services for all.

We welcome this initiative from the Open Banking Implementation Entity that will help consumers and businesses be more aware of all the live applications they can already use.”

 

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.