Fintech FreeAgent, a specialist in cloud-based accounting software for smaller businesses, claims an industry first in successfully connecting its software to the UK’s biggest banks through the new open banking framework.
The Edinburgh-based company, set up in 2007 and acquired by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) via a £53 million deal in March 2018, said the ability to link banking data from the so-called ‘CMA9 lenders’ and provide open banking data feeds to their business customers will provide them with greater visibility of their finances.
CMA9 refers to a group designated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as the first lenders required to provide open banking functions to other regulated financial services businesses. It consists of the UK’s ‘big four’ of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS plus AIB, Bank of Ireland, Nationwide, Northern Bank and Santander. Collectively, the nine operate more than 80% of the UK’s small business bank accounts.
FreeAgent said that its data feeds are now in the beta testing phase, with a target launch date set for later this summer. Once live, the fintech claims that the connection will deliver a fast, secure flow of data into their business bank accounts
An ecosystem of fintech apps
In February this year, FreeAgent collaborated with NatWest and RBS in offering direct bank feeds via the open banking platform to the SME business customers of both banks.
Commenting on the connection to the CMA9, Ed Molyneux, FreeAgent’s CEO and co-founder said: “We see open banking as an integral part of our mission to help small business owners understand their finances better and make more informed decisions about their businesses.
“Becoming the first software in our industry to connect to CMA9 banks and enable a strong, robust flow of financial data is therefore a great achievement that shows we are at the vanguard of open banking for small businesses in the UK.
“Open banking was designed to put more capability and control into the hands of business owners and bank customers. Eventually, we envisage a whole ecosystem of fintech apps, features and services powered by open banking that will make it easier than ever for people to run and maintain a small business.
“We're looking forward to building on our open banking foundations and showing our users what we'll be able to do for them in the future with more direct access to transaction information and payments.”
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