TESOBE, Berlin-based software development firm, has launched the Open Bank Project with the hopes of bringing more transparency to the world's banking community. To accomplish its goal, the Open Bank Project provides an API that banks utilize to provide transaction data to interested parties. Given the hypersensitivity of financial information, the Open Bank Project must persevere through many obstacles. However, should the idea catch hold, it could be the first example of open banking as a service.
Although the concept and rollout of the project continues to develop, TESOBE has witnessed impressive applications built through the project's API. For example, Money Journey unveiled a global transaction visualization at a hackathon last year. Seen below, Money Journey gathered Open Bank Project data and mapped transactions across a 3-D globe.
The Open Bank Project API uses REST protocol and returns calls in a JSON data format. Currently, developers can call bank transaction data and add value to the data that promotes transparency (e.g. tags, comments, images, etc.). Eventually, the project hopes that banks will grant writing privileges and fully unlock the project's potential. Those interested can visit the github page.
Many blame the walled garden approach to banking for the financial crisis that the world continues to pull itself out of. Given the importance and control of banks, greater insight into transactions could make the world more secure and potentially prevent further collapses. Banks may resist participation, but with enough interest and demand, the developer world might just revolutionize the banking industry.