The UK Open Banking Implementation Entity Adopts the OpenID Foundation Financial-Grade API (FAPI) Specification & Certification Program

Published July 12, 2018

The 2018 Identiverse Conference provided a timely catalyst for representatives of the OpenID Foundation and the UK Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) to announce their collaboration on the Financial-grade API (FAPI) specification. The Identiverse stage provided an ideal venue to emphasize the importance of building on the award winning OpenID Certification Program to enable future self-certification of deployments of FAPI specifications.

Today, thousands of banks use disparate and customized specifications to send and share information, using a variety of nomenclature for the same terms. This translates to expensive account setup processes, delaying time-to-revenue and places an extra burden on organizations large and small. It also inhibits innovation of market utilities, which are only possible when open standards enable secure privacy protecting communications among multiple parties.

The Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) initiative is EU-centric and the UK’s nine major banks formed Open Banking Implementation Entity in response to UK regulations.  We are seeing similar initiatives play out around the world with Australia’s four largest banks  set to enable openAPI access for customers this year (2018).  In Asia, South Korea launched the common API infrastructure across financial institutions in 2016.  And in Japan and India, leading companies are taking steps to enable 3rd party data sharing, even in the absence of regulation.

The push is on to standardize open banking as financial services players have learned the lesson that collaboration is better than competition.  Given the success of the OpenID Connect standard, the OpenID Foundation’s Financial Grade API Working Group has stepped up to help drive this global interoperability initiative. The combination of open identity standards and open banking enables banks and new fin tech players to compete with each other and other industries for the best customer experience. Application Programming Interfaces (API), allow participating entities to share data securely and easily, allowing customers to manage their financial information via any channel or application they chose, at any time. Self-certification of conformance to these standards is a key element to making this “just work”

A global interoperable banking environment requires an industry-wide global push. Given the success of its self certification program, the OpenID Foundation is the logical partner for extending its OpenID Connect Certification program to including conformance to the proposed Financial Grade API specification.

The Microsoft Corporation has directed funding to extend the series of OIX, OpenID Foundation and Open Banking workshops to facilitate global input on expanding the scope of the OpenID Certification Program to enable the self-certification of deployments of Financial-Grade API (FAPI) specifications. The next set of workshops will include stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region planned for Sydney on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 and Singapore on Monday, November 19, 2018. Those dates and locations were chosen given their proximity to IETF meetings in Bangkok.

This international outreach is important to securing input, adoption and support among Australian and APAC Banks. These workshops are in addition to presentations on the same topic at UK and European conferences in 2H 1018.

Please join the efforts of the OpenID Foundation, the Open Identity Exchange  and the Open Banking Implementation Entity in involving developers across industries and around the global in this important effort.