Innovation That Matters

Open source API lets banks create custom tools for customers

Financial Services

Open Bank Project provides an open, developer friendly platform that enables the creation of new applications and services.

Banks are not typically known for flexibility or custom services, but a new open source effort aims to change all that. Specifically, the Open Bank Project provides an open, developer friendly “API for banks” that enables the creation of new applications and services. Founded by German software development firm TESOBE, the Open Bank Project essentially allows banks and developers to write a variety of applications that give customers more power and transparency as well as new tools for managing their financial data. Examples already created include a Social Finance application, by which bank customers can choose with whom they would like to share their transaction data – an individual with his or her accountant, for example, or an NGO with the public. Also available for demonstration purposes are a “Singing Bank” application that lets customers play music with their transactions, and an app that provides 3D visualizations of transaction data. The project’s technology takes away the idiosyncrasies of each banking system so that developers can write an app once and use it for many banks, it says. It also uses a secure, enterprise-ready technology stack and supports secure internet protocols such as OAuth. An App Store is coming soon. Among the results of the project is what the founders call a “bank as platform” principle, allowing “a community of developers to grow around a bank and enable them to build innovative products and services for customers,” they explain – for which they can then charge additional revenue. Transparency is increased as well, and the addition of comments, tags and images on top of transactions allows account holders to create a dialogue around their data. Developers and financial firms around the globe: one to get involved in? Spotted by: Katharina Kieck



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