This article on The Business Times is interesting:
While it focuses on the disruptive forces of open banking on traditional banks, I am more excited because it seems hopeful that Prudent users will finally be able to make Bank Account Enquiries (one of the three use cases on MAS' API page)
Per the article: "open banking may enable consumers to aggregate their banking, insurance and investment information across banks and financial institutions on a single platform"
This is exactly what Prudent need! Currently, Prudent extensions gets these information by means of texts and PDF imports, which is not exactly the best user experience, but it works...
If this upcoming 😉digital service for financial planning😜 will draw inspiration from PSD2, there should be an OBIE like API that allows secure access to the Account Information interface. To this end, there are three interesting aspects:
1) Registration with a National Competent Authority
Open banking initiatives typically requires 3rd party developers accessing customer data to be registered with a National Competent Authority. I hope this is done on a tiered basis, i.e. the criteria for read-only access to retail banking transaction data should not be prohibitive for citizen developers and individuals making available creative apps! I think it's reasonable considering the read-only nature and with user-consumer consent. Payment initiation and funds confirmation approval criteria can be higher.
Sandboxes can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it provides a comfortable environment for institutions, developers and user-consumers to figure out how and what things can be done. The flip side is when everyone gets too comfortable playing in the sandbox and do not move on.
Well, if the latter is the case, might as well have individual sandboxes where developers can access actual data of their accounts. In this case, perpetual sandboxes are totally fine! After all, programming is not an exclusive skill and tools can be made available for users to utilize these sandboxes without any coding (i.e. by re-using readily available code and clients).
3) Just JSON will do...
Lastly, if read-only APIs still seem a little daunting, the very least that can be done quickly is to provide transaction exports via e-mail in JSON instead of CSVs and PDFs. Sigh! I also wish trusted browser makers can make headless HTTP clients exclusively for API use, that will really spur the API economy! After all, from a security perspective, how different is it to browse these data vs programmatically using these data?
Selifishly, these are ideas on what helps Prudent and its users. Nevertheless, I hope it provides some glimpse into what a developer hopes for in open banking, however representative that may be. 🙏🏻