Open Banking UX – a beacon of good practice or a blocker to adoption by Olly Betts, CEO, OpenWrks

19 Oct 2018

Consumer trust is at an all-time low.


Awareness around data security is at new heights.


And it’s not been helped by so-called Big Tech choosing the “cover up” route


Google shut their Google Plus business unit down rather than admit a data loss. The Kavanaugh Scandal dominating the press enabled Facebook to bury the fact that 29 million user accounts were compromised.


If the titans of the tech industry can’t keep their customer’s data secure, it’s understandable that people are losing faith in any company’s ability to keep their personal data secure.


With this rightfully increased scrutiny on the security of our personal data, the success or otherwise of Open Banking now appears to be entirely dependent on businesses and banks rebuilding trust with people. As a result, the role of user experience (UX) in helping to build and maintain that trust at the point of connecting your bank account, has become a number one goal.


But the responsibility of Open Banking UX doesn’t fall solely to the businesses like OpenWrks and the other third-party providers (TPPs) who are building Open Banking tech. At OpenWrks we have been, and continue, to work closely with the businesses who own the most crucial point in the Open Banking journey, the banks.


In September of this year, Open Banking released their newly revised Customer Experience Guidelines (CEGs), which plainly and explicitly provide regulatory User Experience needs and requirements.


So are banks sticking to the CEG and utilising UX to build trust and help Open Banking succeed?


The Blackhole that is bank side pages


With as many as 1 in 4  people (with certain banks) who choose to share their financial information through Open Banking, disappearing when we securely hand them over to their bank, this post will explore what’s causing these people to drop-off and if that is something that can be fixed by enhancing the User Experience?


Quick, you’ve got 30 seconds before this Open Banking connection self-destructs


The CEG poses the question to banks; ‘Is your Open Banking authentication journey equivalent to the journey experienced by a [customer]’ when authenticating directly within your existing online channel(s)?’


To guide a person through an online journey and maintain trust, banks need to create a sense of familiarity.  Essentially it means that all the time, effort and money they’ve spent creating their own seamless and trustworthy online experiences should be applied to their Open Banking journey. Adding unfamiliar processes or unknown steps for customers can raise red flags, concern and potentially create a reason to exit.  


Most banks are sticking to this guideline. Some, however, seem to be using questionable UX that could cause anxiety, confusion and erode trust. For example the addition of timers, unfamiliarly branded pages and journeys where customers are directed away from the Open Banking journey and into a new browser tab. Leaving them to navigate their own way back.


Are you sure you want to share your personal data with this unnamed third party? Who knows if they’re regulated? (We do. They are. But we’re not going to tell you that.)


It’s easy to turn off customers with complex language and jargon.


For this reason, Open Banking have posed the question ‘Do you use the OBIE language shown under the CEG to describe the data clusters when communicating with the’ customer?  


So are the banks using simple, clear language?


On the whole, they are. But only when displaying the permissions and data clusters that Open Banking allows. And it’s a good job they are, as OpenWrks found that 93% of users read those data clusters and the breakdown of the information they’ll be sharing with us and our clients.  


However, it’s not all good news.


Some banks are choosing to use language that undermines the security, regulation and authority of TPPs in the Open Banking ecosystem. For example, there are instances where ‘Are you sure?’ or ‘Back to third party’ have been used as navigation buttons. This type of language adds an element of uncertainty to users which in turn goes against the CEG guidelines about not using ‘inappropriate language, particularly language which may create a level of concern, uncertainty and doubt when going through the customer journey.’


It’s not all doom and gloom – there’s a bright side


Although there are some UX downfalls, it’s optimistic to see that people are more trusting of Open Banking technology than was first forecast.


Even with the general erosion of trust and the added barriers caused by some poor UX, people still complete bank connections and are proving the value exchange of sharing account information with a new breed of financial services. And we mustn’t forget, Open Banking is still a baby in the world of FinTech. There’s room for the ecosystem to grow and demonstrate to the world that people want better financial services, more accurate budgets and applications that allow them to do more with their money.


The future of customer expectation in financial services is here. The winners will be those who enable rather than obstruct it.


See for yourself at the Open Banking Expo how OpenWrks connection Flow builds trust to maximise Open Banking connection rates.

Olly Betts, OpenWrks