Property market embraces Open Banking

With 60% of UK consumers now aware of the benefits of Open Banking, it continues to advance the way we share sensitive financial information in a safe and secure manner, with leading identity verification checks provider, Credas Technologies, announcing the integration of Open Banking technology as part of their agent-facing proposition.

Open banking is a set of technologies and standards that enables consumers to securely share their bank account information with third-parties who can then use this access to build products, applications and services that improve the user experience of banking and money transfers.

A booming market

The latest data shows that the number of Open Banking customers in the UK has increased by five million in the past three years. There are now six million users compared to just one million at the end of 2019.

This rising interest in Open Banking has set the groundwork for what is now a thriving ecosystem. As of September 2022, there are 664 companies working in the sector, made up of 332 regulated Open Banking providers, 244 third party providers, and 88 account providers.

Such is the rising profile of Open Banking that a new survey commissioned by Credas Technologies shows how 61% of the UK population say they are familiar with the Open Banking concept and how it enables banks and finance companies to provide customer-facing apps.

Why consumers are demanding more Open Banking

When it comes to the biggest benefits of Open Banking in the eyes of the consumer, the speed and convenience it provides ranks top, compared to what was previously an archaic and frustrating process of, for example, transferring money to friends, arranging overdraft extensions, or browsing for suitable mortgage providers.

Users also praise the fact that explicit consent is required before any third-parties can access account information. This provides a sense of control and authority over one’s own data that also appeals to users.

Personalisation is also important – people like the fact that Open Banking enables businesses to provide them with services or apps that are tailored to their own specific needs or circumstances instead of the one size fits all nature of traditional banking.

But what about property professionals – specifically estate agents? What benefits does Open Banking offer them?

Estate agent benefits

Open Banking gives estate agents easy access to the documents and information required to ascertain buyers’ proof of funds and their source of finances to ensure that the money being used to purchase property is not being generated through illegal practices.

Open Banking makes accessing this information much quicker than current best practice which relies heavily on paper documents. Furthermore, agents can be sure that the information they are accessing is absolutely genuine and, therefore, reliable.

This reliability and trustworthiness is also helping answer the common concerns that estate agents have about the rapid emergence of disruptive technologies in their industry. Coupled with the rising popularity among consumers, Open Banking is leading many of those professionals who avoided technology to now embrace it.

Tim Barnett, CEO of Credas Technologies, said: “When it comes to anti-money laundering in estate agency, ID verification is a relatively new technology and it’s one that many agents are yet to fully embrace.

“Credas is at the forefront of this emerging market and we’re excited to have incorporated Open Banking into our offering.

“It’s going to give estate agents an even easier route when confirming a client’s financial status and proving source of funds, thus making it more difficult than ever for criminals to take advantage of the housing market and improving efficiency for property professionals.”