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Monzo releases open API ahead of big banks

  • 17/01/2018
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Monzo releases open API ahead of big banks
The mobile-only bank Monzo has released an interim API for third-party companies authorised as Account Information Service Providers (AISPs) by the FCA

The interim API will allow third-party firms such as Yolt, Chip, Emma or Plum to access data such as list of accounts, balances, and transactions – given the customer’s explicit consent.

This will then allow third-party firms to develop features for Monzo users, and financial advice given based on the data provided.

However, firms will not have access to personal information such as name, date of birth or home address.

“Access to this data could enable people to build and offer apps that help people save money automatically, budget better, or that aggregate all their banking accounts in one single app,” said a Monzo spokesperson.

For instance, Chip, a savings app, will be able to use the API to create automatic savings functions.

Simon Rabin, co-founder and chief executive officer of Chip, commented: “With APIs like this, it allows customers to say, I will allow Chip to access my account balance and spending patterns, but not my mortgage information – which they might allow a different firm to access.”

He continued: “What this does is enable the customer to have control down to a granular level over who or what or why or when a firm has access to their data.”

The announcement comes as the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Open Banking directive is being rolled out.

The directive was created with the intention of spurring competition in the banking sector by enabling customers and businesses to share their data with third-parties – thereby allowing product comparisons and facilitating innovation.

“Monzo and Starling are the only ones out there who are giving open APIs and actually doing what the CMA has asked for,” said Rabin

He added: “The other legacy banks are working on it, but Monzo actually has got their API working.”

In December last year, it was revealed that five of the UK’s biggest lenders were to miss the January 2018 deadline for Open Banking changes, with the CMA forced to extend compliance deadlines.

The bank added that it has plans to make “some serious improvements” to the API in the future, but have decided to make the current API available in the interim to meet the arrival of Open Banking and the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).


Opening up

Monzo is also planning work on a new V2 Developer API, which will give developers and third-parties more “comprehensive” access to data.

This planned API will give access to functionalities such as making payments, updating and creating feed items, and full access to a customer’s data and accounts.

The bank added that the V2 Developer API will use the new Auth V2 system, which allows more precise controls over what data and functionalities can be accessed by third-party apps.

Monzo expects the design of the Open Banking API to be completed later this year.

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