by Erin Lovett, Associate Director, Missive
It seems as if new Open Banking milestones are being met each month. Six years since the rollout began, the technology has imprinted on the financial fabric of the UK, with 4.2 million active users of Open Banking and more than 11 million monthly payments being made.
These figures highlight the UK’s position at the forefront of Open Banking in terms of adoption, standards and infrastructure. But that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels.
Across the country we have a home-grown ecosystem of innovators working on its evolution. Open Finance aims to extend the benefits of Open Banking beyond payments, current accounts and credit applications, to mortgages, pensions, investments and savings. In turn, the government’s smart data legislation will lead to ‘open everything’, mandating sharing schemes to boost competition in other sectors, including energy, telecoms and insurance.
The success seen across the Open Banking sector has underscored the power of effective communication and education in driving adoption of new financial technologies. As we move towards realising the vision of Open Finance, fintech communicators have a crucial role to play.
Here’s how communicators can help to turn the vision of Open Finance into reality:
Raise consumer awareness to drive demand
Despite the onwards march of Open Banking, three in five consumers reportedly still don’t understand what it is. Despite having 4.2 million active users, it seems many are unaware that the services they are using are delivered via Open Banking.
This hasn’t stopped the rollout to date. But if we were to increase awareness among consumers and businesses, there’s potential for adoption to be even higher. A key aspect in unlocking the full might of Open Finance is bringing consumers on the journey and increase their advocacy. To do so, PR practitioners must craft compelling narratives not only for businesses, but end users too.
To date, the story has been fixated on APIs, standards and competitive advantages, rather than how Open Finance can improve people's financial lives. To change this, partnerships with consumer advocacy groups, industry associations, and other stakeholders will be key to reach wide audiences and generate excitement around open finance. Clear communication and managing expectations will also be vital for ensuring a smooth rollout.
With thoughtful messaging and collaboration, fintech communicators can lead the way in bringing the promise of Open Finance one step closer.
Focussing on the tangible benefits for the end user
With the cost-of-living crisis continuing, communicators have an opportunity to harness impactful storytelling to drive adoption of Open Finance. A well-told story can captivate, engage and leave a lasting impression, helping to turn a complex concept into a relatable experience for consumers.
People care more about convenience, safety, and life improvements than technical details. Banks can benefit from this, in terms of customer retention and creation of new revenue streams, by explaining Open Finance merits to their end users through simple, engaging stories. This is critical now as Open Finance evolves.
For instance, banks can share how Open Finance has empowered a self-employed single mother to seamlessly manage finances for both her freelance business and personal needs. Alternatively, financial institutions could share how integrating point of sale systems with an Open Finance-powered intelligence tool can help SMEs gain easy access to actionable insights about customer patterns, sales, inventory needs and other metrics to optimise operations.
Both of these stories will strike a different chord to a deep dive into APIs. Further, such a story would likely drive customer retention and loyalty for banks at a time when many are shopping around for the best deals. Helping institutions to convey the concrete value Open Finance can bring to people in their daily financial lives will strengthen the ecosystem and bolster partnerships between providers and banks – taking the conversation beyond Open Banking compliance to the opportunities of a more open financial ecosystem generally.
To drive the next phase of adoption, communications must focus on addressing consumer needs and challenges. By laser-focussing messaging on what value that Open Finance solutions can bring for consumers and businesses, practitioners can play a key role in realising the vision of open everything. The path forward involves banks conveying open finance relevance through relatable stories that connect with what matters most to people.