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By Tom Blacksell, Managing Director UKI B2B at Experian.

As of the 13th Jan, some of the largest banks in the UK are readying to bring new ways of accessing goods and services to their customers, presenting new benefits stemming from the Open Banking initiative. This will provide customers with direct access to their data, and in theory, provide consumers access to better products and services, as well as saving them time…

Simply put, Open Banking could well revolutionise the industry. It is designed to give consumers greater freedom to pick and choose the services that work for them. For banks and for consumers, Open Bank APIs are a landmark in the UK. As we drive towards a situation where individuals are more inclined to share their data, they and their service providers will be able to make higher quality decisions on affordability as more sufficient data will be available to make better decisions. This will improve the efficiently and speed of decision making which, in the long run, can only be a good thing for all parties.

For this to work, the industry will need to clearly explain just how this process should work. Clearly demonstrating a genuine value exchange and highlighting the benefits of using the process will ensure that customers begin to understand and are encouraged not to miss the opportunity. We need to make sense of the new ways in which individuals can use their financial information and what they’ll get back from it, and ensure they properly understand it too.

The quality, understanding and management of each individual’s data is vital. This will allow organisations to continually develop their products and services to ensure they are providing the most valuable option to their customers. In turn, this will also develop a better and more trusting relationship between business and customer. To do so, businesses must recognise that the data they receive belongs to the consumer. It is theirs first and foremost and it is imperative that businesses act accordingly to ensure that people have transparency and are comfortable with the sight and use of their data.

In a complex digital world, it is important to build trust whilst maintaining the associating obligations that accompanies the responsibility of managing huge volumes of personal information. Prioritising the security of data whilst it is being transferred, both safely and efficiently, is paramount.

Research, carried out by Experian, reveals that people have certain attitudes when it comes to data sharing. This offers businesses a better understanding about how people in Britain feel towards the way their data is used and kept. When it comes to sharing data, the research depicts four different type of people:

  • The Unaware – 22% of the population

These people simply don’t know how organisations plan on using their data. They are more willing to click ‘accept’ before understanding the full meaning of what they are agreeing too and are often more excited to access the products they want without truly engaging.

  • The Accepting – 44% of the population

This group is slightly more reluctant to share their data, especially the amount they are asked for in order to access the products and services they desire. However, the desire for products and services, outweighs their desire to protect their information. 

  • The Cautious – 28% of the population

As you may guess, these people are much warier when it comes to data sharing. They take their time when reading the T&Cs and want to ensure that the company asking for their data is legitimate and trustworthy before they decide to share any information. 

  • The Incognito – 9% of the population

Think the SAS of the data world – these guys know what they’re doing. Still wary and careful with how they share their data, however this group has adapted to their environment, they know how to navigate the data world and decide just how much and when they reveal their information.

Most business know that with more access to individual’s data, they will have greater ability to personalise services and have tailor-made connections with their customers based on real insights. Overall this will provide a more personalised customer experience that satisfies both the individual and the organisation, although this isn’t always clear.

Yet businesses need to be able to read and respond to each individual customer in order to build a level of trust and understanding with one another. Once you reach this level you can derive a fair amount of value from the new opportunities that come with Open Banking.

Data is one of the biggest topics of 2018 and is continually driving innovation. Yet as we’ve already seen with the delay on the January deadline, with 5 out of 9 (55%) banks appealing for more time to comply with the regulations set out by the Competition and Markets Authority, the industry has some way to go to get in front. Banks need to be prepared to work harder towards invoking confidence and trust with their consumers.

Once this is achieved, we’re expecting a new focus on data to disrupt the way the industry works and make an immensely positive impact to the market, as the people begin to see the power of their data.