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How small businesses can use Open Banking right now

The opportunity presented by Open Banking

Open Banking - the concept of financial institutions such as banks opening up their data for secure, third party access - has been a much-discussed pathway to financial services innovation for years.

The underlying reasoning makes sense. Banks hold lots of interesting financial data about individuals and businesses - data that could theoretically be used in all sorts of interesting ways to benefit you.

However - in the case of the traditional big banks - they just aren’t well-placed to make those innovations quickly, and keep up with the needs of the modern consumer or modern small business.

Not as well as new challenger banks (e.g.Monzo, Tide) or fintechs can. These institutions have the luxury of starting from scratch with modern technology, no burdens of legacy systems or processes, and typically a much narrower focus on doing one or a few things really, really well.

Open Banking product categories and benefits

In a report produced by PwC and the Open Data Institute entitled The future of banking is open, five broad categories of propositions are identified:

  • Aggregation platforms

  • Process improvement

  • Advice and analytics tools

  • Enhanced banking product offerings

  • Enhanced non-banking product offerings

Aggregation platforms

These are softwares that use Open Banking APIs to access a business’ financial info from different banks or financial institutions, and aggregate all that info in one handy location.

No more needing to log in to several different websites or apps to see and manage your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, etc.

Process improvement

These are softwares using Open Banking APIs to help automate previously-manual admin activities.

For example, a lender allowing you to grant them access to view your financials, so you can secure more favourable borrowing terms.

Advice and analytics tools

These are softwares that use Open Banking APIs to analyse your transaction data and show you insightful trends, as well as give you recommendations to better manage your cash.

Enhanced banking product offerings

These are softwares using Open Banking APIs to learn your financial behaviour to offer you more tailored and relevant financial products.

For example, automatically offering you a favourable loan to address a temporary cash flow shortfall due to expected seasonality.

Enhanced non-banking product offerings

These are softwares also using Open Banking APIs to learn your financial behaviour to offer you more tailored and relevant products, albeit non-banking ones.

For example, comparing your transaction history to different utility rates to automatically identify if you could save money by switching provider.

Open Banking apps and products for small businesses

There are more than 40 Open Banking apps and products for small businesses currently live in the UK and listed on the Open Banking app store, currently categorised in these eight product areas:

Accountancy and tax

  • Audapio - Access your clients’ bank statements for audit, directly from their bank, and with automated audit tests included.

  • Circit - Faster audit confirmation requests.

  • Clear Books - Cloud accounting software designed for small businesses, contractors, freelancers, and sole traders.

  • Coconut - A financial companion for the self-employed. Expenses, invoicing and tax all in one app.

  • Ember - Simpler accounting software, with a focus on freelancers and contractors.

  • QuickFile - Cloud accounting software that’s free for small businesses which meet certain criteria.

  • Reckon One - Modular cloud accounting software for small businesses. Starting package begins at £4 per month.

  • Untied - End-to-end self assessment taxes.

  • VAT Direct - A free Making Tax Digital (MTD) bridging system, and bank account aggregator, for small businesses.

  • Xero - Cloud accounting software for small businesses and accountants & bookkeepers.

Cash flow

  • Bottomline PTX Account Visibility - View all your accounts in one simple dashboard.

  • Money Coaching - Help your customers achieve their financial goals by changing everyday spending habits.

  • SlideBy - See your past, current and future bank balance and transactions.

  • Ducit.ai - Analysis of your banking and credit card data. 

  • Moneyhub - White label personal financial management platform.

  • Tully - Advice and support for those who have been impacted financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

Debt management

  • Debtsense - Help your customers get control of, and manage, their debt.

E-commerce payments

  • Banked - Easy way for your customers to pay you from their bank account.

  • Citizen - Accept Open Banking payments, letting you get paid faster and reduce your cost of processing.

  • Coupay - Make it easier for your customers to pay you via bank transfer.

  • Currensea - Pay for international goods and services directly from your UK business bank account in any currency, with less fees.

  • Felloh! - Accept Open Banking bank transfer payments from your customers.

  • Fire - Accept payments by Open Banking.

  • Koin Rewards - Earn rewards for shopping with ethical businesses.

  • Neutro Payments - Accept payments from your customers via Open Banking, while Neutro supports environmental charities.

  • Nuapay Open Banking Payments - Accept instant bank transfer payments from your customers.

  • Ordo - Request bank transfer payments from customers with just their email address or mobile number.

  • Pay with Bank transfer - Open Banking payments powered by American Express.

  • Payit™ - Collect online payments directly from your customer’s bank account.

  • TransferWise - Cheap and fast way to send money abroad.

  • Trilo - Accept payments from your customers via Open Banking, and reward them for doing so.

Identity verification

  • Armalytix - Verify your customers’ bank account information.

  • Canopy - Pre-qualify tenants using data via Open Banking.

  • MyBudget - Faster and more accurate income and expenditure assessments.

Loans and alternative lending

  • Credit Kudos - Credit referencing using Open Banking to access financial data and measure creditworthiness.

  • Creditspring - Flexible, no-interest loans.

  • Affordability Passport - Access your customer’s Experian credit report and bank statement data to understand their affordability.

  • Experian Commercial Acumen - Consolidated views of company financials to better determine creditworthiness, for lenders.

  • Funding Options - Marketplace for small businesses to explore lenders and find the best one for their needs.

  • Iwoca - Small business loans, using Open Banking to make applying a matter of minutes.

  • NestEgg Decision Engine - Combines and transforms relevant data from credit bureaux, applicant bank accounts and repayment and savings history records, to inform consumer lending decisions.

SME financial management

  • ApTap - See all your bills in one place, to better manage your expenses and find tailored deals to switch to.

  • Credit Passport® - Credit scoring for your business.

  • DirectID Insights - Understand your customer’s financial health to make more informed financial decisions on them.

  • Fintify Hive - Easy to integrate APIs to help client onboarding, bank verification, suspicious transaction reporting, and affordability checks.

  • Plaid - Making it easy to connect bank accounts to an app.

  • VisibleCapital - Automatic collation of client financial data for financial advisers, wealth managers and pension providers.

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