Navigating open banking providers: 50 questions to ask

Written by Yapily · September 23rd, 2022

In this guide, you'll learn how to evaluate open banking providers and what questions to ask to ensure you choose the right partner.

So, you've decided open banking can power your product innovation and help you create better user experiences for your customers. Researching providers is step one… but what comes next?

There’s a lot to consider, from bank coverage and security to licensing and ongoing support. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you ask the questions that truly matter and choose the best provider for your needs.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to evaluate open banking providers based on:

  1. Bank coverage
  2. Product functionality
  3. Licensing and UX
  4. Integration
  5. Support
  6. Security
  7. Company

1) Bank coverage

What does bank coverage mean?

Bank coverage signifies how many bank connections a provider has integrated with. However, each provider defines their bank coverage differently, which can make it difficult for buyers to compare.

Fundamentally, a provider should be able to articulate not just the number of connections they have, but what percentage of banks and bank accounts (consumer and business) they cover in a given market, and how that influences conversion rates.

It’s also important to ask whether a provider's API complies with the Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Why? Because Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), which is a PSD2 requirement, adds an extra layer of security for both businesses and consumers. On the other hand, unregulated access (like screen scraping) can leave you more vulnerable to data breaches.

Learn more about screen scraping here.

Which stakeholders should care, and why?

There’s a reason why bank coverage generally comes first in the decision-making process. It’s especially important to Chief Product Officers (CPOs) and Product and Strategy teams who will need to ensure a provider can cover the countries they’re currently serving, and those they plan to serve in the future as they scale.

What makes Yapily different?

With the ability to connect to more than 90% of bank accounts across Europe, including 99% in the UK and 95% in Germany, Yapily has the most extensive coverage on the continent. We test our connections with real bank accounts before we make them accessible to our customers, and we build, maintain, and monitor our bank connections in-house, which delivers the highest level of quality from banks. Our coverage is also 100% API-based and PSD2-regulated.

Questions to ask providers:

  • What percentage of banks do you cover?
  • What percentage of the banked population do you cover?
  • What’s your coverage across different geographies?
  • What’s your conversion rate per country?
  • What percentage of your coverage is regulated vs non-regulated?
  • Does your coverage include business accounts?
  • Are your connections maintained in-house or externally?
  • Are your connections tested regularly?
  • What markets do you plan to expand to next?

2) Product features

Before you consider features and product functionality, you should first establish the type of accounts you need to access: consumer, business, or both.

The next consideration is whether you need raw or enriched data. Raw data, as the name suggests, can return a large dataset spanning years to verify a customer’s identity, account details, transactions, and income. Enriched data, on the other hand, is cleaned up and categorised, offering an additional layer of insight to fulfil your open banking use cases.

Raw Data Raw Data use cases Enriched Data use cases
Account data Account aggregation Balance prediction
Account identification Customer onboarding Income verification
Account balance Affordability checks Debt anticipation
Recurring payments and direct debits linked to the account Creditworthiness assessment Budgeting
Account statements Account ownership verification Risk assessment

If you’re looking for payment capabilities, the question to ask yourself is: what is our use case and which payment type is better suited to our needs?

Single Payments facilitate a secure and cost-effective way to make one-off transactions, whereas Bulk Payments address the challenge of stitching together multiple payments, such as payroll. Variable Recurring Payments (VRP) - while still in their infancy - have the potential to rival Direct Debit.

Single Payment Bulk Payment Variable Recurring Payment
P2P payments Payroll management Subscription payments
Account top-ups Invoice payments Smart overdraft
Invoice and bill payments Treasury payments Variable interest payments
Recurring payments and direct debits Interest payments Dividend payments

Which stakeholders should care, and why?

Chief Product Officers and Product Owners need to evaluate how a provider's product features can fulfil their use cases, and whether those features are available in the markets they serve. CPOs should also assess how a provider’s API can handle the complexity of various integrations for data and payment flows.

What makes Yapily different?

Yapily’s product suite includes Yapily Data, Yapily Validate, Yapily Payments, and Yapily Bulk Payments, along with add-ons and services like Yapily Connect, Yapily Virtual Accounts, and Yapily VRPs. This enables customers to perform everything from identity verification and affordability checks to account-to-account payments and refunds. And, with our enrichment feature, customers can surface further insights. For example, income verification and balance prediction in a single step.

It’s important to note that you can also combine data with payments to create entirely digitised experiences. This is being leveraged by Yapily customers such as Comma, who enable accountants and bookkeepers to create and share payment runs with their customers.

Data questions to ask providers:

  • What account type do you serve: consumer, business, or corporate?
  • What data do you provide for account details and account holder details?
  • Do you provide additional data insights?
  • How far back can the data be retrieved?
  • Is the data normalised?

Payments questions to ask providers:

  • Is this payment feature available in [country]?
  • Which payment rails are supported?
  • How does funds settlement work?
  • Do you provide refund functionality?
  • Can you provide notification of settlement?
  • How does your service assist with reconciliation?
  • Do you have any “extra” PIS features?

3) Licensing and UX

What are Third-Party Provider licences?

Before having regulated access to a bank’s customer data, you’ll need one or both of these licenses:

  • Account Information Service Provider (AISP) Licence to access customers' financial data with their consent
  • Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP) Licence to initiate payments on behalf of customers with their consent

Since obtaining just one license can take up to 9 months with hefty paperwork, you may want to consider using a provider’s license to get started instead.

Another consideration is whether the provider’s solution is white-labelled. This dictates how much control you’ll have over the user experience (UX). A provider should also be able to offer ongoing support to help you build a UX optimised for conversion, bearing in mind the nuances of different banks.

Which stakeholders should care, and why?

Chief Operating Officers need to understand the operational and compliance responsibilities involved in obtaining licenses. Chief Product Officers and Design teams, on the other hand, will need to evaluate whether a white-label solution is appropriate based on the level of control they need over the UX of their product(s).

Which makes Yapily different?

Yapily Connect is your key to global expansion, giving you secure, regulated access to open banking without the hassle of registering as a TPP. Our white-label approach, and the fact that we're an infrastructure platform that exists behind the scenes, means your team has full control over the user experience.

Questions to ask providers:

  • Do you offer open banking licences?
  • Which licences do you support?
  • Does your license come at an extra cost?
  • Can we use our own licences?
  • Can your open banking solution be white-labelled?
  • What are the branding opportunities inside user flows?

4) Integration process

How does the integration process work?

Integration can seem complex, but a provider should be able to offer a timeline for efficient end-to-end implementation.

API documentation is a solid starting point to evaluate a provider’s technical sophistication. This is particularly important for engineers, who’ll be working with the technology. However, any good provider will deliver an integration plan to all key stakeholders, including deliverables and milestones up-front.

Which stakeholders should care, and why?

Chief Technology Officers will want to ensure a provider’s technology will integrate seamlessly with their existing technology stack. DevOps teams will also want to vet the API documentation to ensure engineers have a reliable source to reference.

What makes Yapily different?

Yapily’s dedicated onboarding team helps new customers get up and running within hours. This is complemented by Yapily Docs, our comprehensive hub of resources, and Yapily Console, a single interface for managing applications and integrations. To help developers quickly create their client-side libraries in any language of their choice, we provide an OpenAPI Specification (OAS).

Questions to ask providers:

  • Can we test your technology before committing?
  • What tooling do you provide for developers?
  • Do you provide sandboxes and a testing environment?
  • Do you test using live bank accounts?
  • How long do you estimate implementation will take?
  • What are your implementation milestones?
  • How will you support our team throughout the implementation phase?

5) Support

How does the provider offer ongoing support?

Once you’ve explored the integration process, you may want to consider how a provider will support your company moving forward.

A Customer Support team should be on hand to help you deal with issues, but a Customer Success Manager (CSM) will be your first port of call when you have any technical questions. Look out for an experienced CSM team who knows the market, and the banks they’re connected to - particularly with vertical and regional expertise.

Which stakeholders should care, and why?

Chief Technology Officers will want to ensure there’s a reliable point of contact when technical issues arise. Each provider will offer varying levels of support, so it’s wise for Support teams and Operation teams to explore the various support packages available. This is particularly important for teams handling high-volume or business-critical use cases.

What makes Yapily different?

Yapily has a best-in-class support team offering white glove service, including Customer Success, Account Management, and Support Engineers. Our team is on hand to advise on user flows and navigate technical intricacies, and have helped customers more than double their number of consents in just a few months.

Questions to ask providers:

  • Can you provide an overview of your customer service support plans?
  • Do you have a technical service ticketing system?
  • Would we have a dedicated customer success manager?
  • What is your process regarding an incident?
  • Have you met your SLAs in the past 12 months?

6) Security

The risk to a company’s reputation when a breach happens can’t be overstated. And as cybersecurity attacks grow in sophistication, you need to understand and trust how a provider stores customer data and consent tokens, ensuring they follow industry-standard best practices and have systems in place to monitor vulnerabilities and threats in real-time.

Which stakeholders should care, and why?

Chief Technology Officers and Chief Information Security Officers will likely want to set security standards that dictate how they work with their chosen provider. Legal and Compliance teams will also want to understand where a provider hosts their data systems, how they protect their infrastructure, and what security certifications they hold.

What makes Yapily different?

Yapily operates over 99.95% uptime and publishes regular live status updates on status.yapily.com. Born in the cloud, for the cloud, we configured our infrastructure to monitor threats and vulnerabilities in real-time and are ISO27001 certified.

Questions to ask providers:

  • What kind of data will be processed, transferred, or stored?
  • Can you describe how data is protected in transit and at rest?
  • Can you describe how you classify the data you receive?
  • Have you experienced any data breaches in the last 2 years?
  • What do you do with a customer’s historical data when they disconnect?
  • Do you resell or monetise customer data in any form?

7) Company

Why is it important to evaluate the company, and not just the product?

How a provider envisions its future position in the market should help you understand what your partnership could look like. And while it’s important to consider product capabilities, you should also look for a provider that’s transparent about its operating model and financial stability.

It’s also essential that the provider has a flexible commercial model whereby the cost of the solution is aligned to the value that it generates for the customer.

Which stakeholders should care, and why?

Chief Operating Officers need to evaluate a provider’s pricing model to ensure commercial viability. This includes weighing up implementation and licencing costs. Chief Product Officers will want to see a provider’s future roadmap of integrations and features to understand the vision for their product offering.

Questions to ask providers:

  • What’s your pricing model?
  • How long has your company been around?
  • Can you share customer case studies with similar use cases to ours?
  • How is your business funded?
  • Can you share a roadmap of future integration and expansion plans?

Learn more about Yapily

Now you know what to look for in an open banking provider, it’s time to start asking those all-important questions.

As one of Europe’s leading open banking providers, Yapily ticks all the boxes for regulated bank coverage, robust product functionality, seamless integration, a dedicated support team, and strong security measures.

Focused entirely on building high-quality infrastructure, we enable our customers’ products to take centre stage. Here’s what some of them have said about us.

“With Yapily and open banking, we are helping our customers to take back control of their finances. We are particularly excited because the partnership will allow us to continue evolving as we look to embed more of Yapily’s open banking solutions into our offering.” - Carlo Gualandri, Founder and CEO, Soldo

Try our demo today to see what we can build together.

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