UK’s largest banks improved API response times in 2021

Ellie Duncan
02 Feb 2022

All of the UK’s top 10 banks improved their average Open Banking API response times between 2020 and 2021, with Barclays the most improved, according to the latest API insights data released by Yapily.

Its analysis of the average Open Banking API response times among RBS, Halifax, NatWest, Barclays, Lloyds, Allied Irish Bank (AIB), HSBC UK, First Direct, M&S Bank and Santander, showed that last year the average API response time across UK banks was 511 milliseconds, an improvement of 28% from 2020.

While 100% of the UK’s top 10 banks improved their response speed between 2020 and 2021, Barclays reduced its response time by up to 37%, making it the most improved, followed by M&S Bank, which achieved a 35% reduction in average response time, and AIB at 33%.

NatWest, RBS and AIB had the fastest API connectivity in 2021, with an average speed of 340 milliseconds.

The Open Banking Implementation Entity reported that at the end of 2021, cumulatively over 26.6 million Open Banking payments had been made in the UK, up more than 500% in 12 months.

Roland Selmer, chief product officer at Open Banking infrastructure provider Yapily, said: “For the customer, faster response times will create a slicker and more convenient user experience. For businesses, benefits include faster access to financial data, reduced abandonment rates, and increased levels of customer trust.”

But he added that response speed is only “one aspect” of improving the UK’s Open Banking ecosystem.

“Over the next 12 months, banks, fintechs, and technical service providers (TSPs) alike will need to continue to invest in Open Banking architecture. In order to increase adoption, improving API reliability, uptime and user journeys will be key as this will ultimately have the biggest impact on improving conversion rates,” Selmer said.

Yapily’s API insights data, which excludes the UK’s challenger banks, was compiled throughout 2020 and 2021 by its API platform.

Yapily founder and CEO Stefano Vaccino said he expects that, in 2022, there will be continued improvement across the UK banks as they develop and launch new APIs and functionalities.

“In the wider ecosystem, we will see account-to-account payments compete even more closely with existing payment methods like credit and debit cards.

“And at some point in the near future, we will have seen a major platform integrate Open Banking into their payment workflow, giving rise to an inflection point in consumer adoption,” Vaccino added.