Over three million UK people and businesses are using open banking as of the beginning of 2021. This is proof-positive of open banking’s potential.

The OBIE has several key objectives in 2021 to build on the significant progress made during 2020: to complete the final Roadmap, enhance the platform, continue to grow the ecosystem and drive adoption, and prepare for the future state of the OBIE.

Completing the final Roadmap

The Policy, Standards and Monitoring teams will be chiefly tasked with delivering the remaining items of the final Roadmap, the primary items being:

  • Monitoring the CMA 9’s implementation of all Roadmap items, including Refund functionality, the updated Management Information Standards, and outstanding Performance Improvement Plans
  • Establishing functional and CEG conformance and certification to ensure the CMA 9 have met the requirements of the Standards
  • Sweeping evaluations and the provision of Variable Recurring Payments Standards
  • Evolving the Standards to take account of the impact of the Contingent Reimbursement Model (CRM) Code and Confirmation of Payee (CoP)
  • Completion of Standards for consent and access dashboards

We recognise that our work in 2021, particularly that of the Policy, Standards and Monitoring teams, may need to incorporate or adapt to the wider regulatory environment. One example of this is the likely changes to the 90-day re-authentication rules following the FCA’s consultation early in 2021. Many third parties have argued this rule was a significant obstacle to the long-term adoption of open banking and will welcome the FCA’s consultation. Once the consultation is completed, the OBIE will update the Standards as needed to reflect the new regulatory position.

Enhancing the platform

The Directory team is working on delivering our ‘Directory 3.0’ programme of work, which will drive down the total cost of ownership for this core infrastructure, while also aligning it with industry best-practice.

This work will be central to underpinning Confirmation of Payee functionality for the broader financial services industry, while also enabling the Directory with the flexibility required to support extensibility to other ‘Open’ initiatives for little incremental cost.

Teams from across the OBIE, including Ecosystem, Directory and Security & Counter-Fraud, will continue to design, build and roll-out ‘self-service’ offerings that are available to OBIE ecosystem participants – including the Dispute Management System (DMS), which provides a resilient, effective, and efficient venue for resolving and managing disputes.

The recent launch of a Counter-Fraud Maturity and Self-assessment Tool, which was developed with expert input from the Security & Fraud Working Group, Accenture, Cifas, the University of Portsmouth Centre for Counter Fraud Studies and the Cabinet Office’s Fraud, Error and Debt Team, highlights our commitment to instilling the highest principles of security and counter-fraud within the ecosystem. Freely available to participants, it complements our recent partnership with IASME in creating the recently announced Counter Fraud Fundamentals certification scheme.

Underpinning this activity, the Shared Services function, created in 2020, will support and enable the OBIE’s deliverables through the execution of centralised process and control activity. This will ensure a consistent set of standards across the OBIE, whilst delivering further cost efficiencies by maturing its Finance, Supplier Management, and Procurement capabilities.

Growing the ecosystem and driving adoption

Our Ecosystem and Stakeholder Engagement teams will continue to advocate the benefits of open banking to new verticals and end user organisations. This will build on existing engagement with sectors including Government and Accountancy, and in focus areas including vulnerable customers and COVID-19 support.

The OBIE will continue to encourage financial institutions from across the UK to enrol in the Directory as part of bringing Confirmation of Payee (CoP) into their payment flows.

This industry-wide initiative is the product of effective collaboration between the OBIE and Pay.UK and provides people and small businesses with the ability to check, before payment, that the recipient details are correct – leading to improved peace of mind and the reduction of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud.

Our Insight, Experience and Support team will be tasked with supporting new entities onboard into the OBIE ecosystem and encouraging existing entities to adopt the Dispute Management System, as payment volumes look set to increase throughout 2021.

We will continue to support both ASPSPs and TPPs connect and resolve errors arising from their implementation of the Open Banking Standards – both through responding to Service Desk tickets as they arise, as well as proactively through a planned feasibility study into simulating an ecosystem-wide crisis event – while also working to realise the opportunity of Premium open banking standards (Premium APIs).

Preparing for the future

As the final Roadmap approaches completion, the CMA will run a process that will decide on the future state of the OBIE and the ongoing arrangements to deliver the CMA Order. The OBIE is supporting stakeholders across the ecosystem as they make their representations to the CMA. When required, the OBIE will proactively engage in and execute the transition as determined by the CMA.

“Over 3 million UK consumers and businesses were using open banking-enabled products at the start of 2021.”

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