As industries move forward by embracing the technology available and relevant to them, UK banks seem to have fallen somewhat behind. In an article for ProgrammableWeb back in December, Mark Boyd covered the news that, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement (section 1.171), “the government is keen to enable more innovation around bank data and will launch a call for evidence on how to deliver standardized application programming interfaces in the banking industry.”
The situation was updated last week on Out-Law.com with the news that the UK Treasury has launched a call for evidence on data sharing and open data in banking. The idea is for UK banks to develop a publicly available API that is both single and common.
“Standardized APIs would help improve efficiency and enable corporates, banks, and payment schemes to plug into each other with much greater efficiency,” said technology law expert Angus McFadyen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.
This means that customers will be able to access the right information on the products and services available to them, allowing them to make informed decisions on who to bank with. Similarly, banks and alternative service providers can use the data they receive to create better and more relevant products and services for their customers.
Driven by the UK government’s desire to promote more competition in the industry, the move would encourage the development of innovative applications that utilize bank data to the customers’ benefit.
With the results of a recent study by the Open Data Institute and Fingelton Associates showing that, for the most part, UK banks have failed to keep up with the global pace, this government initiative is an important move in the “race to remain relevant,” as Gartner analyst Kristin Moyer wrote in June last year.