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An update on Open Banking

Roan Lavery

CPO, Co-founder

While the UK is strapped into a white-knuckle political rollercoaster, there’s also no shortage of drama in the normally humdrum world of accounting and banking.

The story so far

Over the last few weeks, you might have received some communications from us encouraging you to switch your bank feeds over to new Open Banking feeds. Our switch to Open Banking has been going well and we now have tens of thousands of customers enjoying the benefits of these more reliable and secure bank feeds.

The switch has been driven by updates to the PSD2 legislation, which comes into effect on the 14th of September. A consequence of this change is that customers will no longer be able to access transactions for many of their bank accounts via screen-scraping. This means that many of our existing third-party feeds (provided by Yodlee) will no longer work and, as such, we’re keen to move everyone over to our new Open Banking bank feeds.

We create each new Open Banking feed as soon as the relevant bank offers reliable ways to access the data through systems called Application Programming Interfaces (or APIs). Unfortunately, not all of the necessary APIs have been published or properly tested yet, so we’ve been unable to support certain banks and account types. These include credit cards and some savings accounts. Although the banks have been working hard to release these APIs, the 14th September deadline is less than a week away and some APIs are still not ready.

What’s changed?

Recognising the potential customer impact of this situation, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently announced an extension to the legislation change. This could allow some of our existing Yodlee feeds to continue working beyond 14th September.

The situation is, to put it mildly, fluid, and there are still uncertainties about the availability and reliability of Open Banking bank feeds for some banks. There is also uncertainty surrounding which feeds will continue to be available through Yodlee.

Here at FreeAgent, we’re committed to ensuring the continuity of bank feeds for our customers and we’re working closely with both Yodlee and the banks to minimise any potential disruption.

So what does this mean for me?

Here’s where we are today:

  • The vast majority of our Open Banking bank feeds are already live! If you can switch, we recommend doing so as soon as possible.
  • If your Open Banking bank feed isn’t available yet, we’ll continue to offer Yodlee feeds where possible.
  • If your Yodlee feed stops working on 14th September and there is no Open Banking bank feed available yet, you’ll need to manually upload bank statements for the time being.

In the long term, Open Banking undoubtedly presents a huge step forward in allowing customers to share data with applications like FreeAgent, but there are still some hurdles to overcome and we appreciate your patience while we tackle them.

We’ll keep you posted with any further updates we have, including news of when we’re able to bring more Open Banking bank feeds online.

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