Open Banking opens up new opportunities for Banks in the region

Image by Fabrizio Van Marciano from Pixabay

  • A new global trend that can lead to lower prices, more choice and greater competition sector
  • Presents opportunities for transformation and financial inclusion throughout East Africa.
  • Paves the way for improved customer experience and greater transparency in banking.

 Open Banking is a global FinTech trend that is revolutionising the financial services landscape across the world by enabling banks acquire the skills and tools required to build their own ecosystem through the Open Banking infrastructure.

African banks are well positioned to embrace the opportunities created by Open Banking through transforming their offerings with innovative, agile and efficient solutions that will strengthen customer relationships and increase revenue for the banks. The platform eliminates the restriction that limits access to customer financial data, with the bank with which they have an account. The account holder will have the ownership of the data and allow them to share with other third parties at their discretion.

Through the use of open Application Program Interfaces (API’s), facilitates business-to-business collaboration and the creation of new eco-systems and business models, for the benefit of financial institutions and their customers alike.  Examples of new business models can include provision of end to end customer journeys for example buying a car – offering a loan, selling insurance etc. Open banking principles also provide an alternative payment instrument, to cash and cards, and can facilitate instant settlement for a purchase.  Bank customers will be able to utilise account aggregation and handle their total net wealth from one application, irrespective of where these accounts are held.

Africa as a region where a large population remains unbanked or underbanked, with its’ affordability and accessibility, has the potential to facilitate financial inclusion for millions. Open Banking will help boost the region’s economy by removing barriers to innovation and facilitating access to essential financial products and services.  When Banks, FinTech’s, Telcos and other 3rd parties in African embrace Open Banking they will further strengthen and broaden African financial markets.

Africa as a continent has always been a world leader when it comes to utilising technology to enable its’ people to carry out transactions quickly, securely and cost effectively – think M-PESA.

Through embracing Open Banking, African banks and will ensure improved customer experience and greater transparency in banking for the region. Because 3rd parties will be pre-authorised to use customer data, negating the need to build new data stores of their own, they can quickly adapt to changing trends and offer new and unique services to customers.

“Open Banking in Africa will play a pivotal role in offering financial services to large sectors of the population who have never had access to financial services before. It will drive transformation in digital financial services by permitting consumers to own and share their data and enabling banks and FinTech companies to utilise this data to offer enhanced products and services to the market.” Says Polys Hadjikyriacos, the Chief Business Development Officer at NETInfo.

Another positive aspect from an African perspective is that the region can look at the experiences from other regions and ensure that the Open Banking model they implement is the best fit for them.

“By embracing Open Banking principles, African financial institutions will be able to reduce the cost of a transactions by enabling payments directly between bank accounts.  This will also mean that payments and transfers will have the ability to be settled instantaneously. Through embracing open banking principles banks will quickly remove their dependency on 3rd parties such as credit card companies and mobile money service providers and reduce their costs drastically.”  Polys concludes.