FreeAgent will begin offering Open Banking services to its customers.
The latest firm to win Account Information Services Provider (AISP) status is cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent.
The start-up, which has more than 60,000 customers, allows freelancers, contractors, micro-business owners and their accountants to manage their business accounts online. This includes tracking time, logging expenses, creating and sending invoices, forecasting tax bills and filing Self Assessment and VAT returns to HMRC.
The Open Banking framework allows third-parties – often fintech firms – to access the vast reserves of customer data held by the big banks, provided they have the consent of their customers. Firms may seek authorisation as either an AISP or PISP under the framework. The former allows companies to access bank data to provide information to customers, while PISPs are able to both access information and initiate payments from the accounts they access.
Using its AISP status, FreeAgent hopes to achieve deeper integrations between banks and its software, enabling customers to access their bank data in a secure and compliant fashion.
“The integrated and seamless flow of information between banks, accountants and business owners is an integral part of the FreeAgent experience in the future. We believe that Open Banking is going to fundamentally change the way that businesses, accountants, software providers and banks share data - giving people a more secure, transparent understanding of their finances than ever before. It will allow us to build new services and customer-focused offerings that would simply not have been possible previously,” said Kevin McCallum, chief commercial officer at FreeAgent.
After a fairly muted start, Open Banking activity appears to have picked up in recent weeks. On Monday, Moneyhub was granted PISP status. A week before, Santander unveiled its first Open Banking integration with savings app Moneybox.