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HSBC launches Open Banking solution ahead of schedule

The banking giant will allow its 17m customers to view all their bank accounts in one app.

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HSBC’s Open Banking app is here, beating the official implementation of the scheme’s second phase by several months.

The bank has launched a new “test and learn” mobile banking app named HSBC Beta, ahead of a full launch in early 2018. The app will give users access to a range of features that are designed to give them more control over their money.

Phase 2 of the Open Banking regime is set to be implemented in January 2018. Broadly speaking, it will allow consumers to take control of their transactional data as never before, while opening up that data to third parties, subject to the consent of the customer.

In a recent interview with AltFi, Paul Riseborough, CCO of Metro Bank, said that people will be more banked in the future, due primarily to the effects of Open Banking. He also said that traditional banks run the risk of being reduced to “dumb piping”, playing a behind-the-scenes role.

HSBC is clearly mindful of that risk. HSBC Beta will allow customers to view all their accounts on one screen, irrespective of whether those accounts are held with HSBC. The app can aggregate accounts from up to 21 different banks, including the likes of Santander, Lloyds and Barclays. In addition to current account visualisation, customers will also be able to keep tabs on loans, mortgages and savings, so long as they are visible via online banking services.

Last year, HSBC trialled a new SmartSave app in the FCA Sandbox – a kind of regulatory incubator. SmartSave applied smart algorithms to identify when users could spend safely. The best bits of this app have now been incorporated into HSBC Beta, which has a broader range of features. These include spending analysis tools, such as categorisation and tags; a digital coach, which helps users to save and spend better; and savings goals.

“We want to provide customers with greater control and make their lives easier,” said Becky Moffat. Head of personal banking and advance. “Through our Beta app we want to give our customers a complete and joined-up view of their financial life and make it easier for them to choose confidently, taking the hassle out of checking dozens of statements and manually calculating what’s left.”

HSBC is not the only global bank to have attempted to get out ahead of the Open Banking regime. Yolt, ING’s Open Banking app, hit the app stores in June, and has been busy rolling out new features over the past few months.

“Lots of people ask us if a big bank like HSBC is relevant in today’s competitive FinTech landscape,” said Raman Bhatia, head of digital for HSBC in the UK and Europe. “What sets us apart is that we have millions of customers, which provides a unique insight into how we can continue to improve our digital banking offering.”

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