Unless you’re old fashioned and keep all your money stuffed in your mattress, chances are you are one of the millions of bank customers in this country. This means that every deposit, withdrawal and impulse purchase has been recorded by your bank. Sharing your financial data outside of your bank can be a mission which means that as a consumer you get little value from it. This seldom utilised information can help you make better financial decisions and better your life through innovative products and services.
So how can consumers tap into this value without causing themselves undue frustration? BankEngine, one of the startups in this year’s Kiwi FinTech Accelerator, are looking to solve this problem using open banking. Simply put, open banking allows people to develop intuitive, useful apps that can access your data (with your consent) to help you make sense of your finances.
BankEngine helping build solutions
Elliott Darling and Will Seagar, the co-founders of BankEngine, are keen to see New Zealand as a leader in the fintech space. ‘We want better financial literacy, cheaper payments, more options and some cool new apps.’
Consumer-facing applications built on top of open banking are almost non-existent in New Zealand. Until now, there hasn’t been an easy way for companies to build their solutions. BankEngine’s unified open banking API will make it possible for applications to be built that give people access to their financial information.
These sort of applications are finding great success overseas. Companies like Mint and YNAB allow consumers to feed their transaction data into an app which helps users budget their funds, identify areas of overspending, and build their overall financial literacy. This sort of integration is extremely difficult to achieve in New Zealand and that is what BankEngine wants to change.
A penchant for security
One of the reasons that access to this type of data is so difficult is security. It is crucial for apps and services to access your data in a secure manner. BankEngine are working to get New Zealand fintech on a global stage by making it easier to work with the many financial institutions in this country. Instead of building bespoke integrations and negotiating with individual banks, they provide a way to authorise access to data from any bank through one simple API.
Payments NZ is the governing body for all payment systems. They facilitate the development of payments standards and ensure that kiwis’ financial data remains safe and secure. BankEngine have become a Payments NZ third party member as well as FintechNZ members. As a certified third-party provider, BankEngine are part of a small list of organisations working to change this dinosaur of an industry from the inside. This is all a part of their commitment to facilitating better banking solutions without sacrificing security.
BankEngine through Acceleration
As the accelerator has progressed, the huge demand for this service has become clear. Typical customer interviews would regularly end with ‘great, how fast can you build it?’ Elliott and Will saw an opportunity with open banking and knew they’d be the ones who will make it a reality for New Zealand.
While their work has developers and industry players excited, the significance of this project extends beyond its saleability. There is a strong correlation between low financial literacy and poverty according to the Ministry of Social Development. Having access to tools that utilise real financial data could have a significant impact for members of our society who struggle to overcome debt and poor financial decisions.
Bank Engine are paving the road for technology that can have a real impact on the lives of New Zealanders. Stay tuned – this is not the last time you’ll hear the term open banking, nor is this the last you’ll hear of BankEngine.
BankEngine are one of the teams in this year’s Kiwi FinTech Accelerator Programme. You can stay up to date with everything fintech by registering for the Lightning Lab newsletter or following Kiwi FinTech Accelerator on social media.