Globally, the regulatory push for open banking has increased the availability of open banking APIs, which in turn enables fintech to build new products and services. To date, however, there are still a limited number of business models and innovative products developed in each country. Greater access to a wide range of product APIs and new approaches to partnership relationships are needed from banks, while fintech should increase its focus on meeting needs in specific target markets to best seize emerging opportunities.
98 countries have open banking regulations in place globally. In 2022, the next chapter in open banking regulations is continuing, with some countries embracing open finance and improved data sharing regulations:
Europe Remains Open Banking Leader
Compared to Q4 2020, open banking API platforms have grown 175% globally. Europe remains the leader, accounting for 75% of the world’s open banking platforms.
Comparing various global regions, the UK was responsible for creating more open banking platforms than the US and Canada – 49 compared to 30 platforms available in Q4 2021. Despite this lead, however, UK banks publish fewer API products overall, offering 253 APIs compared to 296 available in the US and Canada.
New regulatory frameworks are a key driver for steady growth in open banking infrastructure in other parts of the world. The Asia Pacific region saw a 139% growth rate, reflecting the continued deployment of Australia’s Consumer Data Rights (CDR) Framework. There was also a 147% growth in the number of Latin American open banking platforms due to Brazil’s open finance progress, and Mexican incumbents offering product and service data outside of a regulatory push. In the Middle East and Africa, there was a 65% growth in open banking due to Nigerian open banking advancements.
Open Banking API Innovation Moves Beyond Compliance
Bank API Products by Category and Region, Q4 2021 (N = 5,133)
API products have grown 20% globally since Q4 2020. Regionally, Latin America saw the largest increase with a 178% rise in API product growth. The US and the UK placed second and third with 164% and 122%, respectively.
In the graph above, mandated APIs (those focusing on payments, account information, and product information) shown in dark purple comprise the majority of API product availability, outside the Russian and Eastern European markets. These numbers suggest that open API product innovation accounts for roughly 20-40% of the total offerings.
For fintech, products offered by mandated APIs are essential to allow customers to complete everyday tasks like checking their budgets or transferring money. However, fintechs need to access APIs that provide additional functionality to develop well-rounded products that meet the user journey needs of customers.
Looking at global examples demonstrates how innovation is enabling new products (and types of business models) to emerge in the open banking ecosystem.
Germany’s Commerzbank conducts a two-pronged approach to APIs by offering mandated APIs (required to be provided, for free, under Europe’s Second Payment Services Directive, or PSD2) and Premium APIs, which they can sell to agreed partners and third party users, separately. By splitting their offerings, they can better enable new digital business models. Sometimes these models may seek to create new direct revenue streams (for example, by charging for the APIs). In other cases, the APIs may act as new customer acquisition channels, allowing Commerzbank to reach customer segments that were outside its direct marketing opportunities.
In Q4 2021, Commerzbank added Customers and Home Loans Light APIs to their catalogue: The Customers API streamlines onboarding into fintech apps using Commerzbank customer data. This allows fintech to simplify the customer identification process, where potential users may drop off because of having to re-enter all of their personal information. Instead, customers can log in as a Commerzbank user and securely access the fintech product without data entry duplication.
The Home Loans Light API provides a no-code widget for end-users to calculate their indicative interest rate after inputting a few relevant details. The widget lets third party websites, for example, real estate sites, home design and renovation sites, or apps that target potential home construction buyers, to easily integrate Commerzbank’s loans calculator into their websites and apps. By offering this product for free, Commerzbank can shift the integration costs onto the third parties, and open a channel to receive qualified new loan product customers.
Brazilian fintech platform, Quanto, supports companies who want to draw on their open banking data to improve financial decisions. Already, Quanto has been accredited in all eight open finance certifications – the maximum available to third parties under Brazil’s open banking regulations. This breadth of capabilities to securely make use of open banking functionalities (where customers consent to connect their accounts) allows Quanto to offer more complete financial service offerings that draw in data from a complex array of operational systems.
Quanto is able to combine the customer’s company data with recent market indicators and to help customers identify new financial opportunities. For one customer, this increased their loan approval rate by 28%.
The increase in open banking platforms has the potential to change the global financial landscape by encouraging the creation of new fintech products. Open banking is still very much in its nascent stage: many banking platforms still only offer the minimum (mandated) APIs required by their country’s regulations. Those banks that provide additional functionalities have the opportunity to create new digital business models and open up new avenues for their fintech partners to deliver better products to end-users. For fintech, seeking out bank platforms and building partnerships with these banks that go beyond the mandated APIs will enable a richer set of customer experiences to be embedded into their fintech apps and products.