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Open Banking: Our view

By Jas Sidhu

4 minute read

Open Banking

On January 13th 2018, the radical piece of regulatory reform known as Open Banking went live, marking the dawn of a new era of competition in financial services. Open Banking will completely reshape how people spend, save, move and manage their money. It re-sets the rules in the battle for customer trust, and creates immense opportunity for established players and new entrants alike.

At Manifesto, working with our clients in the payments sector, we felt the dialogue around Open Banking was dominated by technical implications at the expense of fruitful discussion about commercial opportunities. So in March 2018, months after the launch of Open Baking, we gathered 100 people together in the Hospital Club in Covent Garden to shift the locus of the debate. Here’s what happened…

For consumers, Open Banking has the potential to transform the way consumers interact with their finances. For small businesses, the ability to manage cashflow and have a real-time view into bank balances introduces new efficiencies and greater opportunities to scale the heights. Taken together, consumers and small businesses could stand to gain up to £18BN a year from Open Banking. But how can providers turn this customer value into a commercial opportunity? Innovation needs to be driven from the top down and bottom up. 

From the top down, the government needs to take an active role in providing the right infrastructure. In a report Manifesto sponsored in July 2019 in collaboration with Faith Reynolds, Consumer Representative of the OBIE, our friends and colleagues proposed the delivery of a government-led Smart Data function. In this model, the government would provide the infrastructure at a national level to bring consistency and security to the way consumer data is handled. Moving beyond Open Banking, the government should be thinking expansively about helping consumers achieve a much broader set of outcomes - or Open Life as it has now been labelled.


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From the bottom up, businesses need to think creatively about how they can serve consumers en masse - not just the early adopters. In a report we produced shortly after our event, we identified the key commercial outcomes that we think will be the cornerstones of successful innovation:

  • Re-educating customers on how they spend, save and manage money day-to-day
  • Redefining what customers consider a ‘financial service provider’ to be
  • Creating new business models and payment types across industries
  • Repurposing what you deliver within your business and how

Open Banking: The New Normal

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But how do you know what successful innovation actually looks like for your business? To help businesses realise their commercial potential faster, we have created a simple decision tree that asks businesses to identify their key customer challenge. We believe there are three killer questions - of which at least one is applicable to businesses grappling with the OB challenge:

  1. How can I provide best in class infrastructure, services and expertise, so we are the preferred supplier?
  2. How can I provide a seamless experience, so we are the first choice for a specific need?
  3. How can I provide a holistic experience and access to products, so we are the one stop shop for anyone to get what they need?

                      10 Scenarios             Open Banking: How to Win

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Each of these three desired outcomes brings with it its own unique set of commercial and delivery implications. Having been working at the heart of the UK payments industry over the past five years, Manifesto are able to identify your specific OB opportunity as a business and the practical steps needed to turn this opportunity into a reality. If you’d like to understand more, please feel free to get in touch.