Digital-only bank Starling to become first UK licensed bank to launch public API.
Starling Bank, the digital-only bank backed by $70m in seed funding, will soon launch its open API, laying the foundations for its marketplace platform. The public API will allow third parties to access Starling’s customer data (provided those customers give permission) and to build products on top of the Starling platform. These can include everything from chatbots to spending analytics tools.
The API underpins Starling’s marketplace model. Taking a marketplace approach to cross-selling products is commonplace within the nascent world of digital only banking. But Starling has really gone all out on fintech. Its marketplace – which will be embedded in the app – will provide access to a range of financial products such as mortgages and loans. The providers of these products will range from the traditional to the alternative, with fintech firms very much a part of the new bank’s plans. Starling may also look to integrate with non-financial products in the future.
The neo-bank is still pre-launch, but some customers are already using it in beta mode. An official launch date has not yet been released.
Starling will host a hackathon at Google Campus in London to mark the opening up of its API. The event will run from April 7th till April 9th. Participants will gain early access to the developer platform and marketplace. But in theory anybody will be able to access the API, so long as they have access to Starling's developer portal.
Megan Caywood, who is chief platform officer at Starling, is intrigued to see “what ideas spring from the opportunity” to access the API and platform. The ideas generated from the hackathon will be put to a “judging panel of tech innovators and VCs”. Starling says that the judging process itself is intended as a light-hearted means of spurring on competition, after all it will not just be the winning ideas that come to fruition. Developers will in theory be able to build whatever they like on the platform.
It may seem a strange way for a bank to go about product development, but that’s the new world of digital banking for you.
“We believe customers are central to everything we do, and our public API will allow the best innovations to reach our customers in a fast, accessible way,” said Starling’s founder and CEO Anne Boden (pictured above).