Comment: Open banking will drive Scotland’s fintech future

There’s a reason why there has been a boom in attention and growth in fintechs and it’s largely due the speed at which innovation and user-centric solutions are released to consumers. As fintech start-ups continue to deliver great products, customers expectations get higher, making it even harder for incumbents to catch up.

Domenico De Fano, senior product owner at Revolut. Picture: Contributed
Domenico De Fano, senior product owner at Revolut. Picture: Contributed

Since Revolut for Business launched two years ago, thousands of businesses in Scotland have joined our banking service. The platform isn’t just an add-on to the retail product, but a dedicated service aiming to meet all of a company’s financial needs in one package. This includes our Open API and integrations, which allow different platforms to communicate with one another.

We built our first Open API more than two years ago, when open banking was still a term for the few industry experts, because we understood the need for modern businesses to move data between different online platforms and automate their banking operations.

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Today, we’re excited to see that open banking is revolutionising how we access and interact with financial products and services, creating a more personalised digital experience in financial services, and helping millions stuck on the wrong financial product.

Some key examples of fintech services and products enabled through open banking include financial data aggregation platforms, and money-advice products able to provide new insights about spending and savings patterns.

Through open banking, you can allow third-party apps to show you how much you’re spending on shopping or public transport, or even to prompt you when it’s the optimum time to exchange your hard-earned pennies for those holiday euros. This functionality is now commonplace, and yet some of the more traditional high street banks are only just starting to catch up.

Many more opportunities remain as yet unexplored, including cardless online payments, which could make the payment experience much more secure, traceable and slick. Or how we might never have to fill paperwork providing our financial information when applying for a loan, a mortgage or when opening a bank account. We are excited to see the activity across the whole industry and it is only just beginning for us at Revolut.

The road ahead is long and challenging - since open banking launched two years ago, most high street banks have delivered the bare minimum to comply with the regulations, failing to see further opportunities for innovation.

That being said, what has been done has laid the path for the emergence of start-ups that could not have existed before open banking and together with other innovators in the fintech field, such as Revolut, are already at work on the next iteration of innovative products for customers and businesses.

The opportunities in this space are vast and varied, making this an exciting race to not only develop these products quickly, but also to deliver them with the utmost standards of quality and reliability. It’s integral to our own success that our clients and network of developers are involved. Our product has been led by clients and we are always listening to their thoughts and feedback. This is, in our opinion, where some of the incumbent banks may have lost their way. We intend to stay on track, to grow alongside our clients as both a trusted service and partner.

We look forward to the opportunity to contribute to conversations around open banking specifically to Scottish businesses and consumers, at a roundtable discussion at the upcoming fintech summit at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh later this week. If you’re around, come and see us. We might even drop some tidbits about our upcoming product roadmap.

- Domenico De Fano, senior product owner at Revolut and speaker at this week’s DIGIT Financial Technology Summit