Open Banking concerns arise for payments providers

By Rebekah Tunstead | 10 October 2018

Rachna Ahlawat, EVP and co-founder of Ondot Systems, expressed concerns about how Open Banking could take the one click payment process to something more cumbersome for consumers at this week’s PayExpo conference, in central London.

“With the Open Banking initiative and having to validate every transaction that comes, the one time password (OTP) challenge is a real one. There are 11 steps one has to go through, sometimes behind the scenes, if you’re a consumer,” said Rachna.

“Industry has worked so hard in getting me to one click, that I can go to Amazon and click and do my transaction. But if I have to go through these six transactions just because of that OTP challenge, how can I overcome that... This is a time to collaborate and not to compete.”

Earlier in the conference Imran Gulamhuseinwala, implementation trustee at the Open Banking Implementation Entity, was asked if there was room for slippage in initiative’s road map – which has been drawn out to September 2019.

“There is always room for slippage but where we are now is you’ve got a very hard deadline provided to us under PSD2 to maximize harmonisation of the directive. All of the mood music in government is that the UK is going to go above and beyond what is required in order to meet the European regulation.”

“The banks have all got a target to get them ready with things like abstract redirection by March. But they can’t even push very far behind the map until they start hitting regulatory barriers around it. So it is a challenging plan but it is an achievable plan.”

Matt Cox, head of Open Banking at Nationwide spoke about the challenge of educating the public. “I don’t think the Great British public needs to know what Open Banking is, they just need to know what they can get out of it,” he said.

“We’ve got a challenge today, we have put a lot of effort into trying to communicate already what Open Banking is, but of course the question that we get is why would I share my data? We still get lots of members writing to us to ask, ‘you aren’t going to auto enrol me into this are you?’”

The concern about whether the greater public are aware of Open Banking comes after a poll by market research body YouGov revealed 72% of UK adults had not heard of the initiative. And of those surveyed, 77% said they would be concerned about sharing their financial data with companies other than their main bank.

Speaking about how Nationwide plans to overcome the lack of public knowledge on Open Banking Cox said the bank would help offer clarity. “As propositions come to market we will heavily invest in making sure people understand how to access open banking. And I don’t just mean nationwide propositions I mean third party propositions. But until we start to see adoption and propositions that are meaningful, it’s a very hard one to achieve.”

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