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


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 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.

Developing an application skeleton is a bone of contention

Developing an application skeleton is a bone of contention

Ever since I began my career as a JavaScript developer five years ago, I've been on a quest to find the developer’s holy grail: an application skeleton that I can use to build my future single page applications on. You know the feeling, you have this great idea, but you hit a wall of bootstrapping, plugins and build tools. If you’d only had it all setup, you'd code an initial concept in a few days. 

Financial Wellbeing — Placing your people at the heart of the organisation

Financial Wellbeing — Placing your people at the heart of the organisation

In the UK, ‘Financial Wellbeing’ is becoming a core pillar within strategies run by organisations to support the physical and mental health of their employees and consumers. Financial services and corporate organisations play a crucial role in their customers and employees’ lives. In a survey by YouGov of 1,817 working adults across all industrial sectors, the findings revealed that financial wellbeing not only affects individual workers but it also impacts business performance. 

Designing an app without customer research is like cycling with your eyes closed

Designing an app without customer research is like cycling with your eyes closed

You’ve changed, design

In the 20 years I have been working on digital projects design has changed quite a bit, or perhaps I have changed. Back in the dark ages of digital design (I think we started out calling it multimedia) designers would pick up a brief and work on ideas for a big chunk of time (a number of weeks usually). Once happy we would then show it to our clients and have a chat about how suitable the design was. If the client was happy we would give the designs (over the wall) to a team of wizards to build.

Moneyhub's AI powered 'Proactive Assistant' gives financial institutions the ability to become true consumer champions

Moneyhub's AI powered 'Proactive Assistant' gives financial institutions the ability to become true consumer champions

Moneyhub Enterprise was delighted to launch its smart "proactive assistant" feature at Finovate Europe 2017. This feature gives enterprises the ability to shield their customers from fines for a late payment, or being charged for dipping into their overdraft. The AI driven financial assistant alerts the user to looming charges and suggests simple automated actions to take. This new technology from the award winning Bristol based fintech company, heralds the death knell of penalty charges.