By Oliver Smith on Monday 8 June 2020
A watershed moment, when it eventually arrives.
Now the US fintech is celebrating its first year in Europe with 30 employees spread across London and Amsterdam offices (albeit with the majority working from home at the moment).
Certainly Plaid’s client list has grown quickly to include the likes of British accountancy giant Sage, rental insurance group Canopy, budgeting app Cleo and digital banking giant Monzo is listed on Plaid’s website.
“We’re now well on our way to becoming a European company, as opposed to a division of a US company,” says Grose, adding that Plaid’s decentralised approach means Europe has its own product and engineering team designed to let Grose’s team respond to local needs.
One of those key needs is for open banking providers to deepen their service offerings, including moving into the world of Open Finance—that is, adding data access beyond simply what happens in a person’s bank account.
“Open Finance in general is a topic that I’m personally passionate about, payments and payments data only get you so far,” says Grose.
“Until you have more, you can’t really help people manage their financial lives.”
Open Finance is a watershed moment for Open Banking, opening up these service providers to whole new avenues of data including in our savings, credit cards, loans, mortgages, SME finance, pensions and even digital identity—or at least it will be, when it arrives.
The UK financial regulator’s call for input on setting a new Open Finance standard is open until October, after which point it’s far from clear how long new standards will take.
“It’s still going to be a trend where there are winners and losers, but ultimately people are going to be the winners,” says Grose.
“You need to let the market help you,” he adds, a nod towards the US where Plaid helped to open up data in the market by knocking on the doors of big banks and building a one-stop-shop for open banking access.
Whether Plaid can create the same amount of value here in Europe where, thanks to industry standards like PSD2 and Open Banking, basic account aggregation has quickly become the standard for open banking providers like Tink, TrueLayer and Bud, we’ll have to wait and see.