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Spurred by new regulation, banks in Europe have spent the last year opening their application programming interfaces (APIs) to facilitate third-party access to users’ data at the customer's request. Open APIs provide external access to a company’s proprietary systems and data, and have been largely popularized by firms like Google — Uber famously built its platform on top of Google Maps, thanks to the tech giant’s open API infrastructure.
The goal of the open banking movement is to encourage greater competition by allowing fintechs and other players to tap into banks’ troves of customer data in order to build new and more personalized services. However, integrating with many different bank APIs can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. That's because each integration has to be done separately, and the APIs themselves aren't standardized — meaning every integration is unique. There are nine major banks in the UK alone before bringing challengers like Monzo and Starling into the mix, so third parties wanting to make the most of open banking are looking at a ton of individual connections. This issue has led to the emergence of aggregators that do the work of connecting to bank APIs, which they then provide as a standardized suite to their customers.
TrueLayer is one of these aggregators. It’s worked with a slew of fintechs, including alt lender Zopa and personal finance management (PFM) chatbot Plum, helping them to connect to banks in the UK by streamlining the integration process. Business Insider Intelligence recently spoke with Shefali Roy, COO of TrueLayer, and Elise Nunn, head of operations at Plum, about their partnership, as well as open banking’s growing pains and the role it’s poised to play in the future.
Challenge: Plum needed a way to connect to many different bank APIs in the UK without conducting a separate integration for each. Plum is a chatbot that resides within Facebook Messenger and analyzes a user's [...]