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IBOS member Ulster Bank has announced Ireland’s first banking open application programme interface (API). This move is set to change the way in which customers engage with their finances by enabling developers to create new products and services using banking data.

APIs are essentially portals that allow information to be safely and easily exchanged between trusted third parties. While relatively new to the world of banking, APIs have been used for years with internet giants such as Google. Ulster Bank’s API, which has been developed using technology from the bank’s parent RBS, gives approved companies limited access to individual account balances and transaction history, providing that customers give permission. The result is that developers are expected to unleash a slew of new finance-related services to help consumers better manage their money.

Ulster Bank’s API aims to provide a seamless and secure method of linking customers’ accounts with third parties. Initially, third parties such as fintech start-ups who want to create new apps, will be restricted to data related to a customer’s balance and last six transactions.

Ciarán Coyle, chief administrative officer (CAO) at Ulster Bank, commented:

“With our API we’re providing a portal so that developers can build applications that will hopefully be useful to our customers. We are not going to be approving everyone who expresses an interest, we’ll be accessing all interested parties to ensure they are credible and authentic.”

As a result, the arrival of APIs will help to bring about proper open banking by making data and functionality more accessible to both customers and companies.

Read the full article, via The Irish Times, here.