BBVA API Market
In just a few weeks’ time, the European financial sector’s regulatory environment will undergo a major change. This shall entail the entry into force, with its transposition into state legislation, of the PSD2, which implies that traditional financial institutions are required to open up their payment services to third parties, with the aim of encouraging competition and improving the services available to European citizens. APIs are the ideal technical tools for achieving these objectives.
That was one of the main conclusions of the PSD2-API Forum. Organized by the training company IKN, BBVA played an important role at this event, which also dealt with issues as keys to design APIs that “seduce” developers.
The EU standard will be applied in two phases: its main features shall be transposed into national law by 13 January, 2018, and will be fully implemented a few months later, in a complicated negotiation involving several groups, when all the technical aspects are closed. PSD2 clearly opts for APIs as a ‘gateway’ to financial institutions for third parties, as opposed to more rudimentary methods such as screen scraping, a programming technique for extracting information from websites by means of software programs, which normally simulates a human’s browsing habits.
The possible prohibition or limiting of this practice is precisely one of the technical aspects still being negotiated.
Why does PSD2 opt for APIs? Several of the speakers detailed the advantages of these interfaces for data sharing and building financial services platforms, which is the new model that the most powerful banks are moving toward.
Rufino Honorato, CTO for the Iberian Peninsula of the software company CT Technologies, stressed their “speed and agility: thanks to them, the consent given by the consumer to a third party to access their financial data becomes a token, which can be stored and easily revoked. These platforms are unbeatable in terms of guaranteeing security.” Carlos Pérez, Head of IT Security at Abanca, also stressed their capacity for standardization.
In the afternoon session, Raúl Lucas, Head of BBVA API_Market, explained the bank’s commitment to these programming interfaces, which was a strategic decision prior to PSD2. “We’re going further, it’s a comprehensive business commitment that we’re developing from studying other industries and conducting many tests,” he said.
The key to BBVA, he explained, is having an ‘API first‘ mentality, which involves designing and planning the API internally ahead of any other development. As an example of the real fruits this work is already yielding, Lucas spoke of Chances, an app created by two developers in just a couple of weeks through API PayStats.”They have demonstrated that it’s possible to create a valuable user experience from connecting to bank data, in this case anonymized business behavior data”, he explained.
After more than a year of working with developers and companies, BBVA API_Market was launched in early 2017, and already has nine APIs available in the Spain portal. The objective is to provide value to the client by collaborating with other companies in three main areas: anonymized aggregate data, personal banking and corporate banking.
PSD2, therefore, is just one more step in the growth of the API market, the tool to share information and build a financial ecosystem where everyone wins: banks, fintech and, above all, consumers.
You can find more information about PSD2 at:
Various case studies are used to show how open finance enables the financial inclusion of SMEs and the economic growth of developing regions.