first direct and Bud to roll out Open Banking app in 2019

By Roger Baird on Friday 15 February 2019

Digital Banking

The bank and the fintech have been testing the service for a year.

Online and telephone bank first direct and fintech business Bud are preparing to roll out their Open Banking service to the lender’s 1.5 million customers after 12 months of successful testing.

The artha pilot app allowed customers to buy a range of financial products such as investments and mortgages from a range of firms such as American Express, Nutmeg, Wealthify, MoneyFarm, and Flipper.

The app also helps users switch to cheaper utility bills, view all their transactions in one place and allows them to set saving and spending goals as they go.

HSBC-owned first direct said it now plans to roll the app out to its customers “towards the end of the year”, while the test service will close on 15 March.

The first direct and Bud app operates under Open Banking, Payment Services Directive and application programming interface rules.

A change in European Union law at the start of the year has ushered in Open Banking, which means consumers can allow businesses, other than their bank, to access their financial data.

Advocates say this potentially allows customers to get better deals, such as cheaper overdrafts, and speed up switching between banks.

Joe Gordon, head of first direct, said: “By integrating some of the best features identified by customers during the artha trial into the first direct app, we’ll be able to help customers to solve common and complex financial challenges in smart, practical ways. By using data to understand their financial position and decide where they want to be, customers will be able to find the right mix of products and services to help them get there.”

Ed Maslaveckas (pictured, left), co-founder and chief executive of Bud, added: “Our goal is to make money simpler for people and, in doing so, give them more control over their lives.”

Earlier this month, Bud raised $20m as part of a Series A funding round, which included such heavyweight banking investors as Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Spain’s Banco Sabadell. The fintech said it will use the cash to double the 62 staff at its London head office “within the next year”, and launch into new markets over the same period.

Bud was set up in 2015 by two school friends, Maslaveckas and George Dunning (pictured, right), from Yorkshire, beginning life as an financial education platform.


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