Tide’s CEO is calling for a ‘paywall’ around open banking data

By Oliver Smith on Tuesday 30 March 2021

Digital Banking

Oliver Prill argues that even 3m open banking users is “too slow”.

Tide’s CEO is calling for a ‘paywall’ around open banking data
Image source: Oliver Prill/Tide.

As the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) continues its consultation on the Open Banking Implementation Entity’s (OBIE) future, Tide CEO Oliver Prill is calling for an altogether more dramatic shake-up.

“Open Banking needs to become a business opportunity, not a threat, for the large banks. We believe there is a whole level of data that the large institutions could make available to companies like Tide, for a modest fee,” says Prill.

His comments come as part of Tide’s submission to the CMA, in which the SME banking provider criticises the “slow update of open banking” as a reason for change.

Three million people and businesses today use open banking to access their data; the milestone was reached shortly after the OBIE celebrated open banking’s 3rd anniversary in the UK.

“The slow uptake is the result, at least in part, of foot-dragging by some of the large financial institutions, who may have perceived Open Banking as more of a threat than an opportunity. It certainly was an unwelcome cost to some of them,” adds Prill.

“There have been attempts to increase uptake, but exhortations can only achieve so much. Now that Open Banking is established, at least at a basic level, we believe its true potential is only likely to be realised if the high street banks are positively incentivised to participate.”

To be clear, Prill is advocating a freemium paywall where “basic free open banking access” should remain, only with additional layers of data being offered at a cost.

It’s not clear exactly how “modest” a cost would incentivise banks to better support open banking, however the suggestion is clearly a sharp change in direction to the founding principle of open banking as giving consumers better access to their own financial data.

Tide now has over 320,000 members, which it says is equivalent to 5 per cent of the SME banking market in the UK.

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