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NatWest launches account aggregation as Open Banking takes hold

The RBS subsidiary becomes the UK's 4th bank to let customers connect rival current accounts.

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It’s been a long time coming, but Open Banking is finally spreading through the traditional banking industry, this week with the launch of account aggregation for NatWest customers.

The feature, which will be rolling out on iOS shortly with an Android version in a few weeks, will let NatWest account holders view balances and transactions of current accounts with 15 other banks. 

“Basically this is the first step in loads of little steps in the direction of openness that should make it easier for customers to choose the right financial products for them,” Jack Stevens, digital product owner at NatWest,told BankingTech.

For now, aggregation doesn’t work with digital banks like Monzo or Starling, but NatWest says this is in the works along with pulling additional account data like credit card balances and mortgages, and the ability to view pending transactions.

NatWest joins Lloyds and Halifax which rolled out aggregation earlier this month, and Barclays and HSBC which rolled out the technology in 2018 (albeit in HSBC’s case via a separate app and not via the Open Banking APIs).

To-date account aggregation has been read-only—meaning customers can view account information and balances, but not make any changes—which is due to change later this year when the next phase of Open Banking’s rollout adds the ability to initiate payments in other connected accounts.

Open Banking has long been spoken about as a powerful force for consumers to access and take advantage of their mountains of financial data, the aggregation features currently launching are the first proof that this dream could become reality.

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