The role of screen scraping and the Open Banking journey

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Open Banking has already had a significant impact in terms of unlocking the market to make way for new blood. Where traditional banks historically held the monopoly over customer account information, the regulatory drive towards a (consumer consent based) data-sharing ecosystem has enabled a plethora of start-ups to innovate the delivery of financial services.

While the primary aim of PSD2 legislation may have been to foster innovation and level the playing field, it comes at a time where customer expectations of technology are higher than ever. Deep in the digital age, the tone has been set by trend-setters across all industries that if we can use tech to make consumers’ lives easier, we should.  In fact, according to research from the Open Data Institute (ODI), 64% of UK consumers would share more personal data in return for new benefits that are more convenient. 

The new wave of financial services products we’re seeing is underpinned by data aggregation and the categorisation of all transactions within it, whereby FinTech firms are granted access to transactional data across their users’ bank accounts in order to broaden the scope of their digital offering. Until recently, a technique known as ‘screen scraping’ has been the primary method of assembling this data. Screen scraping has undoubtedly delivered a valuable service to many, but the possibilities now available through Open Banking are truly game changing. 

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) compelled all major UK banks to make customer current account transaction data available via API in January 2018 with the customer’s permission.  On September 14th a further milestone will be reached with all transactional (payment) accounts being subject to this change through PSD2 legislation for the EU taking place. In addition, the API made available by law must use secure customer authentication (SCA) during login. This change will quite simply make screen scraping for all payment accounts impossible. At the same time, PSD2 legislation makes it illegal to access payment transaction data via screen scraping even if still technically possible.  

The impact of Open Banking for the end consumer?

Open Banking was the next logical step towards finally breaking the banks’ monopoly on customer data. Complimenting GDPR and breaking the stronghold of incumbent banks, the initiative aims to level the playing field for new entrants and create an ecosystem in which consumer financial information flows seamlessly between different institutions with authorisation from and control directly by the customer.

For the consumer, Open Banking marks the start of a new relationship with the financial services industry based on trust, transparency and consent. By enabling them to share their data securely, Open Banking means they can easily evaluate personalised financial products and manage their own finances across several accounts without having to go through their bank, truly empowering the individual.

Does screen scraping still have a place?

With roughly 75% of organisations developing both internal and public-facing APIs and legislation encouraging this route as the industry standard, it’s clear API integration is the future. However, until we achieve full Open Data via API's, screen scraping is still required to view a customer’s full financial picture, as not all financial accounts are yet required to offer API access. We should also note, that the process of screen scraping (in a read-only format) is widely acknowledged as a ‘safe’ process, when done by an organisation that takes data security seriously and has the customer’s best interests at heart. It has been common practice since the 80’s by many financial institutions from credit bureaus, news organisations to the banks themselves in order to streamline processes involving legacy systems and to minimise the need for re-keying data.

Markets such as pensions and investments have no obligation to make data available by API anytime soon. Whilst some providers are embracing change, and proactively implementing API’s anyway, others are not. In the short term at least, offering a combination of direct open banking API’s and screen scraping for accounts where this is not an option, gives customers the most optimal solution to see all their finances in one place. 

Moneyhub is, at its core, an Open Banking platform. Not only was our API the first live Open Banking integration, but our technology features the most data links of any aggregation provider in the UK.

We have invested considerable time and money in direct API Open Banking integration to deliver innovative, secure banking services to our users, and benefits beyond just data such as auto-categorisation and insights via personalised smart nudges. Certainly at this stage, however, coverage of all accounts depends on both API integration and screen scraping to deliver this seamless, holistic service. In light of this, we have established a triage system to find the best source of data when an account is connected.  Starting with direct Open Banking API’s, then bespoke API’s that are available and implemented through to Screen Scraping when necessary. In addition to our account triage system we also have a set of migration tools in place to support the move from screen scraping to Open Banking API’s and more broadly Open Data API’s as and when these become available. 

In the short-term, screen scraping will continue to be a workaround in the absence of available APIs – but it won’t be long until this method is a thing of the past.

With the end goal of opening a closed market and ultimately empowering customers the importance of any system has got to be about Trust, Transparency and Consent.  The days of arguing about who owns the customers data are well behind us. The customer owns their data - every last transaction of it.

Open Banking is encouraging smarter savings behaviour

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The initiative may still be in its infancy, but open banking has already proved a catalyst for change – not only within the UK financial services sector itself but the savings landscape as a whole.  Launched with the intention of increasing competition in the market and triggering innovation, it seems the momentum towards open banking is ushering in a new era of money management.

Just four years ago, research undertaken by the Social Market Foundation found that only a quarter of customers had current accounts with more than one bank. Today, our own analysis reveals that the average user now saves into three different accounts – often with a number of providers.

Thanks to the collaborative model made possible through PSD2, banking data is now actively being shared through APIs between unaffiliated financial service firms to deliver enhanced capabilities to customers.  According to our findings, it seems these connections have quietly been encouraging UK savers to be more ‘savvy’, spreading their money across several accounts with different providers to boost returns.

While the majority of people are still more likely to save with their main provider – the average amount saved into a high street bank being £5,828 – the results of our study showed an increase in the number of users opting for challenger banks as secondary providers, with the average amount saved in these accounts sitting at £2,503.  

Meanwhile, research published by the peer-to-peer lender Zopa supporting the increased breadth of bank accounts, found that one in three people hold two or more current accounts. It also found that almost half of those with a credit card do not have it with their main bank and more than one in four looks elsewhere for their regular savings and instant-access savings accounts.

These findings serve to illustrate the market shift that is taking place and the growing prevalence of the multi-bank approach; one that The Social Market Foundation cites as an indicator of a financially sophisticated customer who is more attuned to the benefits of shopping around.

Traditionally, savings were all managed with the same provider - customers held a current account, a savings account and any mortgages, loans or insurance premiums all with the same high street bank. However, the advancement of digital technology and enforcement of new regulations coupled with the ambition of FinTech entrepreneurs has sparked a savings revolution. Some users may still be tied to their banks, but when it comes to putting cash away for the future, society is moving fast towards the multi-bank model.

By splitting up savings into different cash pots, it becomes possible for users to tailor their returns to benefit from better rates. For instance, if one pot comprises of significant savings that you don’t intend to touch for five years, it might make more sense to invest it into stocks, shares, and funds in order to take advantage of more potential market growth.

Meanwhile, the money you might be saving for a luxury holiday in the near future could sit in a fixed-rate savings account while the safety-blanket cash you rely on for emergencies can remain in easy-access accounts that pay a lower rate.

Moreover, considering the cap on how much you can deposit to receive a good rate, separating your money is a smart way to mitigate risk. Under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, you are only protected for up to £85,000 per bank or building society in the event of a collapse. With your wealth split across several providers, you can minimise the risk to own savings in the event your main bank goes bust as many did during the global financial crash.

When it comes to managing money, the younger generations are set to face stronger headwinds than those experienced by their parents and grandparents. With this in mind, there has never been a better time for a transformation in the financial services sector. Today, what people need the most are tools that encourage engagement with their finances; they need visibility across all the various pockets of money they have, be it insurance premiums, holiday funds, student loans, and pension pots.

Thanks to open banking, it is now possible to view all of your savings in one place on platforms like Moneyhub. No matter how many banks you have spread your savings across, you can gain a 360-view of your finances and control them through the same tool. With greater control over their money, UK savers are finally in a good position to improve their long-term financial health.


Savings needs a health resolution

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Digital technology has transformed almost every aspect of our daily lives; from the way we talk to the way we travel, eat, shop and do business. The proliferation of smartphones and subsequent cultural shift to an on-demand society has even influenced the way we view our health.

As the costs of traditional healthcare continues to soar and plague governments around the globe, the price tag of digital technology drops by the day, offering an obvious solution to the problem. Thanks to the development of digital health platforms and remote monitoring apps, people are increasingly turning to the myriad of services that allow them to self-manage their health and wellbeing, alert professionals to changes in their condition and receive efficient, cost-effective support at the drop of a hat.

According to a Salesforce survey, 6 out of 10 millennials support telemedicine, such as video chats, instead of in-person visits. Even more respondents stated their preference for mobile apps that could allow them to book appointments, review health records and manage their preventative care, while most were happy to consider wearable devices that share health data with their doctors, as well as pills that track vital signs once swallowed.

These findings serve to illustrate the shift in attitude and behaviour that has taken place with the younger generations in particular. Given the chance to take their health into their own hands via digital monitoring platforms, millennials are happily obliging. It’s hardly surprising - after all, they have come of age in an era where everything is available at the tap of a screen, and as an age-group that some have dubbed the most stressed generation, it’s no shock to see them turn to the digital solutions available to quell their health anxieties.

Having witnessed the digital revolution of the healthcare sector, finance and savings would be wise to follow suit. Taking a page from the digital health solutions book, the finance industry can learn lessons from the move towards self-management in healthcare to make finance something that people engage with daily, are committed to and find motivating.

While it still may be early days for open banking in the UK, regulatory activity has spurred a thriving FinTech industry and given way to a first generation of open banking solutions that allow users to securely share the information with whoever they chose in order to receive a 360-degree view of their finances. With access to both current and savings accounts, such platforms could completely change the way all of us interact with our money and support our financial wellbeing by providing us with an on-demand solution for both short and long-term money management.

Just like video-chats have gained momentum for younger patients, the idea of visiting a bank branch is an antiquated thought to most millennials. If health can be managed digitally, 24-7 real-time access and service from financial service providers is something that consumers have come to expect; performance for these organisations is measured not by the service of their physical branch but their self-service capabilities.

Technology has inspired a shift in attitude with regard to the way people view their health; it has put personal health monitoring into the palms of our hands and inspired us to live healthier lifestyles through real-time progress tracking. As a result, Millennials and Gen Z are more engaged with their health than any previous generation; their need for instant information disrupting the provision of healthcare to enable individuals to take control of their health and wellness at the tap of a screen instead of a trip to the doctor.

Indeed, recent research into this subject found that health apps and wearable devices have acted as tools for Millennials to improve their own health, with adoption rates among this generation far outpacing older generations (27 percent app, 8 percent wearable compared to 12 percent and 4 percent) When surveyed on what they would like to see from health-tech tools in the future, the main theme for Millennials was centralisation, integrating self-generated health data with that of the information held by a range of providers to allow ubiquitous access from a single location.

This highlights a wider trend in the demands and expectations of younger generations: technology has enabled them to track their health at a granular level and track progress in real-time and,  as a result, they are empowered to take action to improve their diet and lifestyle. Wellness has become a daily, active pursuit for millennials; they are eating healthier and exercising more than previous generations. On the flip side, attitudes towards finances remain much the same, and while some are taking advantage of new platforms to manage their money, most still see their bank account as something to ignore until payday.

The positive, proactive attitude that young people have towards their own health cannot be carried over into the world of money management, however, until key players in the finance sector embrace the potential of technology and regulatory change to transform how we view and manage our savings.

Just like healthcare practices, banks and financial service organisations are under mounting pressure to reduce costs and improve service quality. And, just like the healthcare industry, a similar opportunity exists in finance to transform the user experience and revolutionise the way people manage and view their money. If finance took the same approach, people would undoubtedly feel more connected with their money.

Given the ability to view their spending behaviours, incomings, outgoings and savings all within the same place, users would be inclined to make positive changes to the way they spend and save. While more needs to be done to educate the market on the benefits of open banking, the development and proliferation of such products and services is certainly a step in the right direction.

Could micro payments be the solution to the pensions crisis?

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With auto-enrolment rates rising this April from 2 per cent to 3 per cent, and the government announcing their intention to provide a top up to savings in the form of tax relief, it’s optimistic to assume everything will all work out in the end because, in theory, it should.

However, despite the increase in auto-enrolment rates and employer contributions rising to 5 per cent, there remains a significant gulf between what people are putting into their pension pots and the amount they will actually need to retire comfortably. A pensions crisis grips the nation; Britain’s ageing population and the rising costs of long-term elderly care is fast-creating a funding shortfall for sufficient support and the confusing pension tax relief system certainly hasn’t helped in incentivising Britons to save for the future.

If that wasn’t bad enough, new analysis of official data on UK household incomes indicates the gap between men and women’s pension income is more than twice that of the gender pay gap at 40%. According to a paper from the Centre for Policy Studies, 2018 was the year that saving in Britain dropped to a record low with households investing just 4.9% of their income for the future.

Experts suggest the reason behind the pensions gap (the difference between the current rate at which we are saving and the amount we will need for the future) stems predominantly from the complex nature of the pensions system. This is supported by findings from a study of UK workers conducted by PwC in which six in ten (59%) respondents said their lack of understanding puts them off saving more.

Unfortunately, solving the pensions crisis isn’t a simple case of increasing auto-enrolment rates. If workers today are to retire comfortably, government and industry must find a way to inspire people to take a proactive approach to their pensions. Fortunately, the introduction of PSD2 and the momentum towards open banking offers promise in the form of cutting-edge financial technology.

With seamless data sharing made possible through smart APIs, there is huge potential for banks to facilitate the act of future-proofing our finances through intuitive apps that make money management as quick and easy. Through open banking, there exists a real opportunity to provide customers with a holistic view of their finances across all accounts. With this in mind, pensions have the potential to become less of a dusty piggy bank on a bookshelf that no one wants to think about, to just another component of our unique financial profile that we top up every day.

Having recently been accepted into the Open Banking Implementation Entity regulatory sandbox, Moneyhub has an exciting opportunity to test innovative financial tech products, services and features that could be transformational for the consumer payment experience. Being able to do this within the sandbox, allows us to deploy to customer quickly, without the usual compliance hurdles that can stand in the way. We truly feel that tech has the potential to solve a whole raft of consumer finance problems, not least helping with our current pensions funding crisis. As such, a key part of  what we will be trialling in the sandbox, is making managing finances easier with micro-payment using PISP (Payment Initiation Service Provider), with Starling Bank.

The idea is to create a system in which frictionless micro-payments are made to your pension pot with your consent, and integrated as part of your daily financial activity. Some of you may already be familiar with micropayments, but this is the first solution of its kind that automates micro-payments in real time to promote a proactive approach to saving.

Until now, any micro-payments a user intended to make would be tracked and compiled into one high transaction at the end of the month – a helpful feature, but it certainly doesn’t encourage better savings behaviour.  Through our work with Starling Bank on micro-payments, Moneyhub will up your spare change in real-time - whether that’s 80p that you saved on your daily food budget or the £4 you saved on bus travel last Wednesday.

On the surface, it may not seem like much. However, a few pounds every day really adds up for retirement. Soon, the spare change that was swept up begins to make for a sizeable pile. As the interest accumulates, what started as a few pennies in a jar can quietly become a comfortable retirement income. Even just £2.50 a day for a 30 year old can grow to be worth £85k in retirement – a figure which seems daunting and out of reach today, but is perfectly achievable through daily micro-payments.

What’s more, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s better to skim off a little extra from your daily spending and have it automatically sent to your savings than see a large lump sum leave your account at the same time your bills and rent are due.  By taking advantage of the possibilities born from open banking, our goal is to encourage a shift in attitude. We want to help people to view forward-planning for their long-term finances not as an intimidating mountain to climb in the future but an achievable target that can be easily tackled through minimal daily contributions.

Already, our involvement with the sandbox has provided invaluable insight into consumer behaviour and revealed the positive impact that nudges can have on our saving and spending habits. We’ve found that it really doesn’t take much for people to start changing their financial behaviours – just a push in the right direction like a health tracking app encourages us to take more steps or drink more water.

Thanks to our integration of Starling Bank’s API into our payment gateway, users can already initiate a payment straight from one account to the other in real-time, whether it’s an ISA, a savings account or a pension pot. Our upcoming trial of micro-payments using PISP offers a new solution to tackling the pensions crisis. By embracing an open, API-led approach, banks can play a leading role in transforming the way people view their pensions.

Rather than a looming concern that becomes scarier the longer you put it off, planning for retirement can become a proactive measure that people find satisfying – and you would be surprised how much you could save. In the long-run, it’s the 20p spare you had on an idle Tuesday that could just make all the difference.



We need to end pension silos

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Understanding the big picture, and taking all elements of an individual's circumstances into account, is critical in making good financial decisions. Yet, when it comes to planning for retirement – arguably one of the most significant financial decisions –  most of us tend to think about our pensions as entirely separate to other assets we may own such as property and savings.

It’s not hard to see why: for too long, pensions have existed in a silo of their own. Perhaps it’s failure by design; the traditional way in which financial advice products are set up focus too much on making people experts in specific investments instead of looking outward to interlink with other products. With regard to pensions, the industry has designed products and services that are too narrowly defined.

Meanwhile, the profusion of specialists in finance has caused the sector to split off into separate islands, with pensions so far a-drift that consumers are simply unable to view them within the same landscape.This, coupled with a series of stringent regulatory requirements, has seen the industry lose sight of the way in which pension policies connect with the wider savings ecosystem.

In some ways, the silo-approach is understandable. Considering the complexity involved in advising in fields such as investments, mortgages and pensions, it takes time for specialist advisors to gain the appropriate qualifications and undergo the relevant training to be able to advise on these specific subjects. Specialisation may be at the heart of enhanced productivity and improved efficiency, but it can also lead to tunnel vision, whereby neither advisor nor consumer can foresee blind spots until they materialise.  

Take property, for example. According to recent research from Retirement Advantage, over-55s in the UK could now access a cumulative £375bn in housing equity – this rose by £2bn just in the third quarter of this year (a 2.7% increase), and in some areas of the country the increase was nearly double this, with the East Midlands up 5.1%, the South West up 4.8% and the West Midlands up 4.6%. Meanwhile, research from SunLife found that four in ten of over 55s of are worried the money in their pension may not be enough to cover their retirement and are looking for alternative ways to increase their income in retirement.

This research clearly shows that people across the UK who own property either outright or with a mortgage are likely to have equity in their homes which they can tap into for retirement, and yet the silo-effect of the pension sector means the question of accessing this wealth may not even be raised. Even if a client has no intention of selling their home or downsizing, advice that identifies all options by looking at the bigger picture surely leads to better client outcomes.

Over 55s may be asset-rich, yet as they approach retirement, it’s apparent that they are concerned the funds in their pension will not be able to support them. With the increasing need to serve a growing population of older homeowners, the pension industry and financial advice in general must evolve to help retirees make better decisions. In light of this, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (Imla) called on advisers to "break down the silos" between pension and mortgage advice after figures from the ONS revealed UK homeowners were ageing faster than the wider population.

Perhaps the problem is not with specialisation, but the by-product it has created in silos of data and silos of how products are discussed. With each respective financial services provider holding on to their own piece of the pie, the consumer must hop between organisations or even between separate departments of the same organisation to get a full scope of their financial situation. In either case, the result for each advisor is a disconnected view of the customer.

We as an industry have a responsibility to provide clients with advice that keeps their best interests at heart, but how can we achieve this if half of the puzzle pieces are missing? The advice we deliver is based on the data we can see; consumer decisions are based on the advice they receive from their separate advisors and so the fallacy that pensions are a separate asset is perpetuated and the cycle continues.

Fortunately, there is a chance that a change in attitude within the savings culture could see the silo approach slowly coming to an end – or at the very least, face disruption from regulatory change and the new market entrants that come with it. According to rules set out in the retail distribution review and the mortgage market review, advisers can only be confident of giving the best advice to their customers if an assessment is completed that covers all elements of a client's wealth, including their plans for the future and their relationship with risk.

With the introduction of game-changing legislation set out in PSD2, the pensions industry stands on the cusp of revolution in the way that consumers interact with their finances and manage their pensions. Open banking data could be the catalyst that sparks industry collaboration to bring about connected customer insights to the benefit of both financial advisors and consumers. While there are still uncertainties as to when the long-promised pension dashboard platform will launch, innovative solutions that bring customer data into one place can provide consumers with an interlinked view of their financial assets.

Collaboration will be the key to empowering consumers to make better decisions now and in the future; mortgage brokers and retirement planning advisors, for instance, should be working together to determine all the investment and pension options that could benefit a client.

Through increased industry collaboration, financial advisors in every specialism gain deeper insight that enables them to enhance their customer experience and provide well-rounded advice that takes into account all the elements at play. Clinging to silo-mentality, on the other hand, will only hold us back from evolution and prevent customers from getting more from their pensions.

If its transformation we want and client satisfaction we strive for, we need to start thinking about the consumer as a whole, acknowledging their wealth for what it is: a web of multiple accounts, assets and liabilities that connect to create a unique financial profile. By breaking down the silos that constrain the pensions industry, we can support individuals to manage their financial futures better by putting them back where they belong: at the heart of the advice process.

Algorithms aren’t enough: how robo wealth managers can use Open Banking to provide better advice

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We’re living through an interesting period in financial services. From the revolution of open banking to the rapid rise of the robo-advisers, rarely has our industry seen so much disruption in such a short space of time.


For wealth managers, much of that innovation has focused on using algorithms to bring down costs and reach new audiences. The 130 (and counting) robo-advisers that have entered the market are a welcome addition, but is their potential being realised?

Underusing the algorithms
The problem isn’t with robo-products themselves – it’s with their scope.

Because the current crop of algorithmic advisers focus on only one aspect of users’ wealth, like their ISA or mortgage, they’re missing out on the opportunity to offer more holistic advice.

Open banking lets wealth managers take a much wider view of their customers’ finances and provide more suitable advice but few, if any, providers have yet to take full advantage of it and the market is due to see a surge of new players who will.

Let me give you an example.

Sarah wants to start investing. She’s been reading some articles online and thinks that a robo-adviser could be a cost-effective way to get started.

She’s not wrong. But what her ISA robo-adviser can’t see is that Sarah also has £5,000 of credit card debt and high-interest loan on her car.

Any human adviser would tell her that paying off her credit cards is a far more effective use of her savings. But with access to a very limited set of information, her robo-adviser can’t make that judgement call.

A better way

As any adviser will tell you, more information equals better advice.

Robo-advisers have the clear potential to offer truly holistic advice, but manual date entries and fact-finds fail are failing to unearth the required information. But by using open banking APIs to legally aggregate a customer’s date, the algorithms could access a much wider data set that includes credit cards, bank accounts and ISAs, and use it to generate suitable, targeted advice – while saving customers from spending hours on fact finding.

Providers could incentivise customers to add more APIs by giving them a reliability score. Adding one bank account would give you a lower score than if you also added your credit cards and ISAs, for example. It’s a smart way to encourage users to help wealth managers provide optimal financial advice.

Ultimately, we as an industry should always be looking for ways to improve the suitability of financial recommendations. Algorithms can go some way to facilitating this conversation – but surely gaining a better understanding of your customers’ date is the real answer, hidden in plain sight.

To find out how we can help your business evolve, get in touch on 0117 280 5155 or email enterprise@moneyhub.com.



Moneyhub integrates Starling Bank to its Payment Gateway

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Moneyhub has integrated Starling Bank into its Payment Gateway, the first challenger bank to support PSD2 PISP legislation and joining the growing list of payment providers on the Moneyhub platform.  

Moneyhub’s integration with Starling Bank’s API allows users to initiate a payment straight from one account to the other quickly, easily, and at a fraction of the cost to organisations of traditional payments. The move follows the implementation of Open Banking in January last year, and comes ahead of the new requirement that all banks must support PSD2 legislation by September this year.

Starling Bank’s half a million-plus users can also now act on the already established Smart Nudges within the Moneyhub app. For example, if a user spends less on entertainment than budgeted, they will receive a ‘Micro Saving’ nudge’ prompting them to save the money left over into their choice of savings accounts or investment accounts they hold. With Moneyhub’s Payment Gateway, they can initiate the payment to their ISA, savings account, Pension or pay off any debts straight away making Smart Nudges actionable with immediate effect.

The technology developed by Moneyhub features almost 600 data links, the largest of any aggregation provider in the UK. Users can link up current and savings accounts alongside any credit cards, pensions, loans, mortgages, SIPPs, ISAs or investments.

Moneyhub has been instrumental in the Open Banking revolution, helping to define global standards for financial APIs. The Payment Gateway is another step in this revolution helping businesses and individuals transfer and receive money without the traditional associated high costs or frictions.

Samantha Seaton, CEO of Moneyhub, commented: “Technology is rapidly transforming not only the way that the banking sector is operating but the way that individuals and businesses can interact with each other.  Being able to pay directly from one account to the other can mean faster and easier transactions for both customers and businesses. Whilst, businesses can also benefit from lower costs as well as the ability to see the full, end to end customer journey.  

“The introduction of Open Banking has been transformative for people’s relationships with their finances but its potential is only just being realised. Starling remains at the forefront of putting users in control of their finances and is exciting for us to be working closely with them to deliver excellence and innovation for their customers. A new era for people’s finances starts here.”

Ben Chisell, Product Director at Starling Bank commented: “We want to create a great banking experience for Starling customers, whether they are using our own app or using money management tools like Moneyhub. We are really pleased to see that Moneyhub have been able to use our APIs to improve their experience for Starling customers, and at the same time it is a great example as to the types of new experiences that can be created when banks like us embrace an open, API-led approach.”

As a Third-Party Provider (TPP), Moneyhub uses Open Banking to aggregate bank account information and initiate payments. It holds licenses for both an Account Information Services Provider (AISP) and Payment Initiation Services Provider (PISP).

To find out how we can help your business evolve, get in touch on 0117 280 5155 or email enterprise@moneyhub.com

What does the auto-enrolment increase mean for you?

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As the next increase for auto-enrollment goes live, it’s essential that providers think about how they’re going to keep these customers engaged or they risk losing revenue.

The latest data from The Pensions Regulator showed in January a total of 10 million workers were automatically enrolled into a pension scheme while 11.5 million were already active members of a scheme and 438,000 were members of a defined benefit or hybrid scheme.

From the 6th April, the minimum contribution rates rose from 5% to 8%, with the employee paying 5%. But while this is a positive step for lifetime saving, there’s a real risk that as the contribution levels rise, so does the risk that people will choose to opt out, deciding to fend for themselves instead.

Key to this is making sure that customers are fully aware of the benefits of regular pension contributions.

This means helping people be more engaged in their finances, making them more aware of how they’re spending and how they’re saving. They can also help set sufficient savings goals and enable them to visualise what these mean in reality.

Help identify goals – Short-termism is a real issue when it comes to lifetime savings. With day to day money worries often difficult to avoid, thinking about retirement can often seem like too much of a luxury. But by helping people set clear long-term financial goals, putting a bit more aside each month can make a lot more sense.

Improve visibility – People shouldn’t view their pension balance as an abstract pot of money disconnected from the rest of their financial universe, it should be there front and centre when they consider their complete financial health. Putting pensions savings pot(s) on an easily accessible platform gives people a constant reminder that saving for retirement is at least as important as those shorter-term saving goals.

Involvement in the process - Playing a more active role in the process should also be considered. By giving customers access to the necessary tools to help them save for their future, and involving them in the decision-making process, later life saving will seem more important.

Show, don’t tell - The world we live in now is all about visibility and awareness, and it’s important to do more to educate and engage. By clearly demonstrating the impact that incremental saving can have on long-term finances, people’s willingness to save a little more each month for their retirement will increase.

Auto-enrolment should be seen not as a hurdle but an opportunity. By delivering additional value, providers will strengthen customer loyalty, boost assets under management, and put themselves on a stable financial platform going forward.


To find out how we can help your business evolve, get in touch on 0117 280 5155 or email enterprise@moneyhub.com.

When did you last complete your #LifeUpdates? - Guest blog

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How long is your current to-do list? For those of us with busy lives there always seems to be a growing list of ‘life admin’ to complete. We are all guilty of procrastinating and putting things off, even if they are not particularly difficult or time-consuming, and installing the latest software and app updates is a classic.

We think it’s time we flipped our attitude to these #LifeUpdates. We have all felt that great sense of achievement when we complete a task promptly. The relief of ‘ticking’ a job off and reaping the benefits allows us to gives ourselves a pat on the back. What’s more, if we tick off simple tasks we can potentially save ourselves a lot of stress, time – and potentially money.

Installing the latest software and app updates helps protect your devices from viruses and hackers as they contain vital security updates. The Cyber Aware #LifeUpdates campaign highlights those ‘to dos’ like changing service providers, using price comparison sites or adopting useful cost cutting techniques, which only take a few minutes but could have a lasting impact.

When we need a little motivation to complete these day to day tasks, it’s worth considering what would happen if we just didn’t bother!  If we forget to use a price comparison website when changing service providers, or forget to cancel that subscription we no longer need - it’s likely we will end up out of pocket. When we don’t install the latest software and app updates, we are increasing the risk of becoming the victim of a virus or a hack. Every new update fixes weaknesses in the software that hackers could use to attack our devices and steal our identity; - this all brings a potential financial cost and impact on our wellbeing.

Installing the latest software and app updates are important #LifeUpdates that should never be put off. We want people to know it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. You can install new updates at night when you are asleep and your device is plugged into a power socket. You can also set devices to automatically install the latest software and app updates when available.

So next time you receive a notification with a new software or app update available – remember to install it as soon as possible. Below are five simple Cyber Aware #LifeUpdates to help you stay secure online:  


For more advice on simple ways to be more secure online, visit the Cyber Aware website.

Written by - Cyber Aware

Open Banking One Year On

Open Banking One Year On

As Open Banking turns one, we asked our CTO David Tonge, co-chair of the Financial API Working Group at the OpenID Foundation, to take a look at the state of the industry. Below, he examines its repercussions for customers and for financial services, and identifies the challenges and opportunities that are set to define Open Banking in 2019.


How to Hack Your Way to Home Ownership - Guest blog

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When it comes to getting onto the property ladder, young people in the UK are hard-done-by. And it doesn’t help that the home buying process is often a very complex and stressful experience. But there are tricks and tools out there that can give you a helping hand - you just need to know where to find them.

FirstHomeCoach, an app that guides first-time buyers through every step of the home buying journey, gives us the lowdown on five simple hacks that can get you a little closer to owning your own home.

1. Check Your Credit Score

Your Credit Score is a crucial part to the home buying process. A good score is your key to securing a mortgage. But according to a report from the new Money Advice Service, 2 out of 3 people haven’t checked theirs in the last five years!

Checking your Credit Report gives you a detailed overview of your credit history (including credit cards, previous loans and store credit). If it’s not in ship-shape, it could affect your ability to borrow money. The main agencies that offer these reports are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

If you find your credit score not looking as lovely as you thought, there are steps you can take to improve it! A few include: registering to vote, cancelling unused credit cards or building your credit score with rent payments.

2. Get a LISA

To buy a home you might be aware that you need a hefty lump of money for the deposit. There are also costs that tend to get forgotten like legal fees, stamp duty and insurance. So it should come as no surprise that you need to get your savings going.

One hack that’s on offer to prospective first-time buyers is to open a Lifetime ISA (LISA). This is a tax-free savings account that gives UK residents, between the ages of 18 and 39, a chance to boost their savings. You can put in up to £4,000 each tax year until you turn 50, with the government adding a monthly bonus of 25% to the amount saved. For example, if someone opened an account at 18 and put in the full amount every year until they were 50, they would get £32,000 for free from the government!

There are some restrictions on withdrawing the money, so make sure you read all the small print. But we reckon it’s worth opening one even if you decide to hold off putting a chunk of money in it for now.

3. Get a Side Hustle

According to lender Sunny, some 7.5 million britons earn on average £360 a month each – on top of their main salary - from a side business. All this requires is a little bit of creativity, some spare time and good old perseverance.

If you find you do have some capacity, then a side gig can be a fun way to get some extra cash. For example, on a spare weekend you could be earning money by hosting an experience on AirBnB. This could be as simple as giving a short tour of the hipster coffee shops in your local area.

From selling home-made scented candles on Etsy to getting paid to test out apps when you’re on the go, or even renting out your camera equipment when you don’t need it, the possibilities are endless.

4. Use Apps to Help You

There are a loads of apps that can give you a better overview of you finances, help you save and track your progress.

● Squirrel is an app that divides up your salary keeping your ‘savings’ safe and putting your ‘bills money’ aside until they are due.

● Cleo is an AI assistant that also tracks where your money goes and gives you a clear breakdown of what you’ve spent.

● Monzo’s ‘Coin Jar’ feature lets you build savings by rounding up your purchase to the nearest pound and automatically adds the difference to the coin jar - so you can save without really noticing!

● Moneyhub is great at helping you understand where all your money is and what you are spending it on.

● And of course, there’s FirstHomeCoach which allows you to play with different home buying scenarios so you can work out when you’ll be able to buy and how much you need to save.

5. Get to Know the Secrets

The most important hack is to investigate everything you need to do to buy a home. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to make the right decisions. A good way to start is by:

Familiarising yourself with each step - You can speed up this learning phase by having a look at the Knowledge base on FirstHomeCoach. This collection of short articles will help answer a lot of your questions.

Speaking to recent first-time buyers - Something all first-time buyers have in common is they’ve all never bought a house before. To some extent, everyone goes in blind and that can lead to a lot of headaches and unforeseen obstacles. Speaking to friends, family or reading about other recent first-time buyer’s experiences might give you a nugget of wisdom you never knew you needed!

The home buying journey can be long and arduous, but these hacks are here to help you make the process that little bit easier! The most important thing is to do it all in your own time. For more help and guidance visit FirstHomeCoach.co.uk or get in touch with us on social media.

Written by our partner: First Home Coach


The choice for wealth pioneers

The choice for wealth pioneers

Open Banking is changing the way people interact with their finances for the better. It’s no longer justifiable that managing investments, pensions, debt or daily spending is so complex. It’s even easier for businesses to connect with their target audiences and provide them with a more personalised service: capitalising on deeper insights surfaced automatically to help people manage their finances more effectively.

Open Banking eight months on: How well are the banks’ APIs performing?

Open Banking eight months on: How well are the banks’ APIs performing?

It’s now been eight months since the Open Banking reforms were put in place. Designed to put the consumer back in control of their data, the top 9 banks (CMA9) had to provide an Open Banking connection (API) that regulated Third Party Providers (TPPs) with special permissions could connect to. This allows their customers to see all their finances in one place and use market leading tools to analyse their money.

Mental Health Awareness Week
14th-19th May

Mental Health Awareness Week <br> 14th-19th May

Mental Health awareness week 14th-19th May

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, from 14th to 20th of May, is Mental Health Awareness Week. This year’s theme is a theme we’re all more than familiar with: Stress.

In the UK, 85% of adults experience stress regularly, with the leading cause of stress being money. With over a third of Brits experiencing stress for at least one full day a week, it’s clear the issue of financial worries in Britain need to be addressed and rectified.