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Open Banking

Anything that puts customer choice first will always be welcomed by us, and we believe it will make banking better for everyone. But what is it? Here's the lowdown...

So what is Open Banking?

The idea behind Open Banking is to open up possibilities for you, offering you easier access to different choices about how you bank.

It's designed to allow smaller and newer financial services providers to compete more easily with the bigger banks, and to encourage the bigger banks to continue to improve what they offer too.

You can now choose to share pieces of your first direct 1st Account information through Open Banking with other financial services providers. This could enable you to use different services, like seeing your accounts from different banks in one place or using price comparison sites to get a better idea of what current accounts might be best for you. You don't have to share any details through Open Banking if you don't want to. You're in control.

But if you do authorise your bank to share current account information via secure Open Banking, it could:

  • save you time when shopping around for financial services and other products, like utilities, with no need to enter information multiple times
  • use your data to ensure you receive more personal, more relevant quotes
  • allow you to manage many or all of your accounts using innovative money management tools; and as Open Banking develops, it could extend to other financial services like loans and credit cards
  • give you a new way to pay at online checkouts, straight from your bank account. 

What changes will I see as a result of Open Banking?

As Open Banking starts to become more popular, you should see more and more companies letting you share your Current Account information to help them provide their services. You'll also be able to send money directly through third party companies; straight from your Current Account to some online retailers and between your own accounts, as well as to other third parties, which includes other people. This could also include sending money to pay for something you’re buying online, or setting up a standing order and future dated payments.

You can also give your authorisation to allow third parties to ask us for confirmation that you have available funds in your first direct Current Account, to cover a payment you're making through a card provided by them.

When you start to use these services with your first direct account, you can view who you have shared your information with via our Mobile Banking App. You can also stop these authorisations if you don't want to share your information anymore.

Why is this good for you?

Because Open Banking is designed to give you greater control over your finances. For example, it could make it easier to compare and manage products. It means your financial services providers will need to work harder to offer competitive products, outstanding services and innovative tools to make sure you aren't tempted to leave.

All of which should help make Open Banking the best thing since sliced bread from a customer's point of view.

How do I share my information?

Sometimes we may need a little more information to process an application. Open Banking is a great way to securely share your information quickly and easily with us.

We’ve teamed up with consents.online to offer a quick, easy and secure way to provide your information, using Open Banking.

If you are in the process of applying for a product with us you can use this service. You simply give consents.online permission to access your account information outside of first direct. They then provide us with one-time only access to it so we can finish off processing your application.

How are first direct bringing Open Banking to life?

You can authorise for us to share your transactional information with other providers. We’ll never share this unless you authorise it – keeping you in full control. This could help you get a better understanding about where you might be able to save money.

We’ve also just finished a trial of our aggregation app we called artha. Our registered trial customers have been collaborating with us over the course of last year. We’ve been exploring new financial tools to help people keep tabs on and make more of the money they have with us and various different providers.  

Due to the huge success of the artha trial, we’re now beginning work on delivering some of the money management features from artha into our own first direct mobile banking app. 

We’ll keep you posted here about the new features when we start to add them to our mobile app later this year.

Acronym Buster

Application Programming Interface

An API is a parcel of programming instructions that allows separate systems to securely interact.

Financial Conduct Authority

The FCA is the independent body that regulates the UK s financial services industry.

Competitions & Markets Authority

The CMA is the UK government department responsible for strengthening business competition.

Payment Services Directive 2

PSD2 is the piece of EU legislation that enables Open Banking.

Frequently asked questions

Any questions? We're here to help...

If you're a first direct customer with questions about Open Banking and how it will affect you, call us on 03 456 100 100 and we'll be happy to help.

Remember, you don't have to do anything if you don't want to - we'll never share your information with anyone without your permission.

If you're not a first direct customer and you'd like to be - find out more about switching to first direct here.