Open Banking

Open Banking Glossary

Jenn Starr
Head of Marketing
December 5, 2023

The landscape of financial services is undergoing a profound transformation, primarily driven by the advent of Open Banking. This innovation is not just a fleeting trend; it's reshaping how we interact with financial services. Projections suggest a remarkable growth trajectory for Open Banking which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.2% from 2023 to 2030.

What is Open Banking?

Open Banking stands as a paradigm shift in financial data management and consumer empowerment. This system allows individuals to share their financial data with third-party providers securely through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This modern approach to financial data sharing caters significantly to the fintech industry, enabling a plethora of services without the cumbersome process of multiple logins through traditional bank accounts.

Regions such as Europe, the UK, and Australia are witnessing a significant reshaping of their financial and banking sectors due to Open Banking. It's altering the way consumers interact with financial services, tailoring benefits to their specific needs and preferences.

Decoding Open Banking Terminology

The ethos of Open Banking is founded on transparency, ensuring that users understand the use and sharing of their transaction data. Despite its growing importance, the terminologies of Open Banking can be complex for newcomers. To address this, we've developed an extensive glossary to clarify these terms and concepts, making Open Banking more approachable for everyone, from consumers to financial experts.

Essential Terms in Open Banking

Account Information Service Provider (AISP): A type of TPP that has access to account information and provides services like aggregating information from various accounts in one place.

Account-to-Account (A2A) Payments: These are financial transactions where money is transferred directly from one bank account to another. This type of payment bypasses traditional card networks and is often used for both consumer and business transactions. A2A payments are typically faster and can be more cost-effective compared to traditional methods. They are facilitated by Open Banking APIs, allowing for instant or near-instant transfers directly between accounts at different financial institutions. A2A payments are becoming increasingly popular in the digital banking world due to their efficiency and reduced transaction fees.

API (Application Programming Interface): A set of protocols and tools for building software and applications. In Open Banking, APIs allow third-party developers to access financial data to build new apps and services.

Automated Clearing House (ACH): ACH is an electronic network for financial transactions in the United States. It processes large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches. ACH credit transfers include direct deposit, payroll, and vendor payments, while ACH direct debit transfers include consumer payments on insurance premiums, mortgage loans, and other kinds of bills. ACH transactions are known for being secure, efficient, and less costly than paper checks and wire transfers. They are commonly used for recurring payments and are an integral part of the electronic payment landscape.

Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS): A model where banks integrate their digital banking services directly into the products of other non-bank businesses.

Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS): CHIPS is a United States payment system used primarily for international and high-value domestic transactions. It's operated by The Clearing House and is one of the largest private sector global payment-processing systems, handling a significant volume of transactions daily. CHIPS facilitates the transfer of funds and settles transactions in real time.

Consent Management: The process of obtaining and managing a customer's consent to share their financial data with third-party providers.

Data Aggregation: The process of collecting data from various sources and presenting it in a summarized format. In Open Banking, this often refers to the aggregation of financial information from different bank accounts.

Digital Wallet: A software-based system that securely stores users' payment information and passwords for numerous payment methods and websites.

The Dodd-Frank Act: Officially known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, this comprehensive piece of financial regulation was enacted in the United States in 2010 in response to the financial crisis of 2007-2008. It aims to reduce risks in the financial system by increasing transparency, improving accountability, and protecting consumers from abusive financial services practices.

Dodd-Frank Act - Section 1033: This section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, enacted in the United States, pertains to the rights of consumers to access their financial data. Section 1033 mandates that financial institutions must make available to consumers, upon request, their financial data in a form that is usable and accessible. This includes information about transactions, rates, fees, and other terms and conditions of their financial products and services. The intent of this section is to empower consumers with greater access and control over their financial data, thereby promoting transparency and consumer choice in the financial services market. It is seen as a foundational regulation that supports the principles of Open Banking and consumer data rights in the financial sector.

Embedded Finance: This term refers to the integration of financial services within the products or services of non-financial companies. Examples include lending, payment processing, or insurance offerings embedded within online retail platforms, allowing consumers to access financial services seamlessly as part of their usual online activities.

FedNow: FedNow is a service being developed by the Federal Reserve to enable financial institutions of every size, in every community across the U.S., to provide safe and efficient instant payment services around the clock, every day of the year. It is expected to facilitate real-time payments, providing an infrastructure for instant payment services in the U.S.

Financial Data: Information related to an individual's or business's financial transactions, accounts, and other financial assets.

Financial Data Exchange (FDX): FDX is an industry-led initiative to create a common, interoperable, royalty-free standard for securely accessing consumer and business financial data. It aims to unify the financial industry around a common standard for data sharing and security.

Fintech: Short for financial technology, it refers to new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services.

Know Your Business (KYB): Similar to KYC (Know Your Customer), KYB is a verification process for businesses. It involves verifying the identity of the business and assessing its risk profile. KYB is a crucial process for financial institutions and services to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and to prevent fraud.

Know Your Customer (KYC): A process used by financial institutions to verify the identity of their clients. KYC is a critical component in the financial industry, aimed at preventing identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financing.

Open Authorization 2 (OAuth2): OAuth2 is an open standard for access delegation, commonly used as a way for internet users to grant websites or applications access to their information on other websites, but without giving them the passwords. It's a more secure and efficient way to provide access to information.

Open API: A publicly available application programming interface that provides developers with programmatic access to a proprietary software application or web service.

Open Banking: A banking practice that provides third-party financial service providers open access to consumer banking, transaction, and other financial data from banks and non-bank financial institutions through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Open Finance: An extension of Open Banking, Open Finance refers to the sharing and leveraging of broader financial data through APIs beyond just banking data. It includes data from a wider range of financial products like investments, pensions, and insurance, allowing for a more holistic view of a person's financial health.

Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP): A type of third-party provider (TPP) in the Open Banking ecosystem. PISPs are authorized to initiate online payments on behalf of customers directly from their bank accounts to the merchant's account, bypassing traditional payment methods like credit cards.

Payment Rails: The fundamental infrastructure and networks used to move money from one party to another. This includes traditional systems like bank transfers and modern solutions like digital payment platforms.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Any data that can be used to identify a specific individual. In the context of Open Banking, PII may include information like names, addresses, phone numbers, and bank account details, which must be protected under data privacy regulations.

PSD2 (Payment Services Directive 2): European legislation designed to promote competition and innovation in the financial sector. It requires banks to provide third-party access to their customers' accounts (with the customers' consent).

Pull Payments: A transaction method where funds are 'pulled' or drawn from a payer's account by the payee. Traditional examples include direct debits or credit card payments, where the merchant requests payment from the customer's account.

Push Payments: These are payment transactions initiated by the payer, 'pushing' funds to the payee’s account. Examples include mobile payments and bank transfers, where the payer sends money directly to the recipient's account.

Real-time Payments (RTP): Instantaneous or near-instant payment processing, allowing for the immediate transfer of funds between parties. RTP systems are becoming increasingly popular in digital banking environments, offering a faster alternative to traditional payment methods that may take days to clear.

Screen Scraping: In the context of financial services, screen scraping is the practice of collecting screen display data from one application and translating it so that another application can display it. This is an older method for sharing financial data, which predates the development of APIs in Open Banking. It involves a third-party application mimicking a user logging into a bank's website to collect financial data.

Secure Customer Authentication (SCA): A requirement of PSD2 for online payments and other forms of financial transactions to reduce fraud.

Third-Party Provider (TPP): A service provider who uses the Open Banking APIs to access customers' financial data, often to provide new financial services or apps.

Tokenization: The process of replacing sensitive data with unique identification symbols that retain all the essential information about the data without compromising its security.

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