Since the economic hardships of the 2008 financial crash, it’s fair to say the United Kingdom’s businesses and economy have rebounded well. Yet, both old and new obstacles to a healthy P&L persist, while businesses seek to thrive in competitive markets and preserve a healthy work culture for employees.
In a recent blog post, we outlined the lessons learned in the year since the UK’s Open Banking regulation took effect. The Open Banking concept is hardly confined to Great Britain, however. Countries as geographically and culturally diverse as Singapore, Australia, Holland, and Canada have also embarked on similar endeavours to alter the dynamics of their financial services sectors – thus also altering other interconnected sectors.
Three Things We’ve Learned from the UK in Year One of Open Banking
January marked the one-year anniversary of the Open Banking regulation coming into effect in the UK, making this a good time to step back and assess its progress, or lack thereof. For the uninitiated, Open Banking is seen by financial regulators as a means to spur fintech innovation and foster increased competition in the UK banking market. Its underlying premise is that transactional data is the property of the account holder, and if the consumer or business elects to share such data with a third party, the bank must facilitate its efficient transfer, securely.
As with many high-minded concepts, the devil is in the details, so let’s consider how it’s playing out in the real world so far.
This week saw the interim report from the Access to Cash team, a body set up to look at the future of cash, funded by LINK– the Scheme behind the ATM Network – and overseen by Natalie Ceeney, an ex-Financial Ombudsman. The report, and the BBC article accompanying it, highlighted revealing facts from ATM transactions declining by 8% in the course of the last year and the decline increasing by 5% since the beginning of 2018, to 37% of us still needing cash as local services and shops don’t yet take digital payments. Fortunately, as point of sale (POS) hardware technology replacement cycles are relatively short, contactless solutions will soon be ubiquitous, facilitating wider payment options for merchants and their customers.