Barclays has joined the Open Banking revolution with the launch of a new feature on its banking app that will allow customers to manage multiple current accounts from different providers.
Customers who have a personal or business current account with major banks, including Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest, RBS or Santander, can choose to view their balances and transactions all in one place.
Barclays says the feature removes the hassle of logging into lots of apps and will appeal to customers who regularly switch banks to take advantage of the best deals.
Read more: Should you join the open banking revolution?
To connect accounts, users have to select their other banking provider from within the Barclays mobile banking app, whereupon they will be securely redirected to their other bank’s app or online banking page to choose which accounts they would like to connect with.
Catherine McGrath, managing director of retail banking at Barclays, says: “Today, lots of people have current accounts with more than one bank, so keeping track of your finances can be tricky as well as time-consuming. Our new feature is designed to solve this problem, offering a simple and secure way to get a clearer picture of your finances.”
She adds: “We will never ask customers to share their login details for another bank and we will always ensure they have full control over their data, with the ability to manage information sharing quickly, easily, and above all safely.”
Barclays says more banks will be added over the coming months, with further features to follow.
HSBC was the first major UK bank to release a banking app that combines other providers’ information earlier this year. Its Connected Money App enables you to see all your bank accounts together in one place. The app can display accounts from 21 different banks, including current account, savings, mortgages and loans.
Open Banking explained
Despite the hype, many consumers are unaware what open banking is while others are worried about the ramifications for personal security.
According to a recent survey by YouGov, nearly three-quarters (72%) of Brits have no idea what Open Banking is.
Meanwhile, more than three-quarters (77%) said they were concerned about sharing data with companies other than their own bank.
Open Banking was introduced in January this year and obligates the biggest banking providers to share information on current accounts with regulated third parties such as apps and websites.
The aim of Open Banking is to provide more competition and increase choice by making consumers aware when better deals are available. This will supposedly make it easier for them to compare accounts and switch financial products.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has forced the nine largest UK retail banks and building societies – Allied Irish Banking Group, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, RBS and Santander– to all sign up.
Other banks and building societies can voluntarily do the same.
Information sharing is made possible by what is known as application programming interfaces (API) – a set of codes which allow different software applications to talk to each other.
For information to be shared all firms have to be signed up with the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority. Data is also encrypted for additional security.
At the moment, only current account data is being shared, but it is eventually expected to be rolled out to credit cards, savings accounts and e-money services, such as PayPal or Revolut.