Scope of ecosystem audit

The ecosystem audit is a core part of the analysis driving the immediate outcomes and is summarised in Section 3. We provide additional detail on the scope in this appendix. It is clear that the open banking ecosystem is becoming more complex and there are several models being used to bring products and services to market. Our analysis focuses on one part of this market. Other parts of the market which are not included are:

  • Agents: there are a several agents of Account Information Service Providers (AISPs) registered with the FCA (although not all of these may be live to market). Operating as an agent of an AISP provides an alternative route to market for some participants.

  • Third Parties Not Providing AIS (TPNPA): Several TPNPAs have been provisionally identified. These firms receive data from regulated AISPs, but do not act as regulated AISPs themselves.

  • Technical Service Providers (TSPs): By definition a Technical Service Provider does not offer a service to the end user, so is not included in this analysis. It is, however, clearly a powerful enabler of market development that such firms exist to support regulated parties bringing products and services to market.

We do not include agents, as they are not on our Directory and we do not have a direct relationship with them. TPNPAs are not included in this analysis as there is currently no available data source which would allow us to quantify their role or the number of products and services which they provide. Any arrangement between an AISP and a TPNPA to share data onwards is confidential.

TSPs are excluded as they do not provide a product or service to the end user, but are nonetheless important enablers of ecosystem growth.

In future iterations, the Impact Report could be expanded to include agents and TPNPAs, however there are considerable practical constraints in doing so which would need to be overcome. This limitation should be considered in reviewing the results in Section 3.

Analysis by outcome area over time

Previously, we have seen strong growth in services generally:

  • Dec 18 to Dec 19 = 288% growth
  • Dec 19 to Dec 20 = 76% growth

Although it appears that the level of growth is slowing:

  • Dec 20 to Aug 21 = 9% growth.

The pattern by outcome area shows that improved financial decision-making and better borrowing dominated in the first year of open banking. Since then, the range of outcome areas represented has broadened, with expanded payments choice continuing to be the fastest growing area.

Figure 20: Live to market open banking-enabled products and services split by outcome area and primary end user type

Customer survey research design

The objective of this research was to understand consumer experience of using open banking-enabled propositions and the impact that customers were deriving from the use of them.

This was achieved by an end-user research survey with customers of selected TPPs within two mature proposition areas, namely improved financial decision-making and increased saving and investing.

OBIE approached selected TPPs to nominate individual active customers to participate in a survey.

Research conducted by Marketing Means

The research itself was conducted by an independent research agency, Marketing Means, operating to the requirements of the MRS Code of Conduct. Participants were given a link to an online survey questionnaire hosted by Marketing Means.

In addition to recruitment directly via TPPs, a nationally representative sample of UK digitally-enabled adults were recruited via a panel based on agreed criteria (i.e. usage of specified open banking PFM and savings apps).

Customers of nine mature TPPs

Subjects were asked if they were users of nine selected TPPs offering relevant propositions, who were considered sufficiently mature to have a significant number of customers. Subjects were asked screening questions concerning the nature and purpose of the particular app to validate their self-reported use of these apps.

Only those who demonstrated an accurate comprehension were permitted to participate in the full survey. The survey questionnaire was designed to take no more 10 minutes on average to complete. Slightly different question sets were used depending on whether the subject used a PFM or savings app.

A small sub-set of subjects (15) were recruited to participate in qualitative interviews, provide the opportunity to explore drivers for usage, consumer experience and outcomes in more depth.

Interviews lasted about one hour and subjects were drawn from both PFM and savings app users, and with a representative demographic spread within the constraints of the sample and agreement to participate. These will be included in the full research report which will be published separately.

Outcome areas

Theory of Change model

Our Impact Report is based on a Theory of Change – consistent with methodological approaches frequently used to evaluate the intended impacts of policy interventions.

It helpfully illustrates the progressive intermediate steps required to achieve the ultimate desired goals. The Theory of Change established three key components that are important to measure:

Outputs and immediate outcomes (Availability and Awareness):

A necessary first step to achieving ultimate outcomes is availability, awareness and positive perceptions of open banking-enabled products and services. However, there is a wide degree of consensus that customer awareness of open banking technology, is less important than awareness of propositions and services.

Intermediate outcomes (Experience):

The second step is customer adoption and positive experience of open banking-enabled products and services that meet their needs.

Ultimate outcomes (Benefits):

The third and final step is that customers experience sustained benefits from being able to access and use open banking-enabled products and services in a way that improves their financial position.

In the first Impact Report we set out six customer outcomes areas that we believe provide a comprehensive, but concise categorisation of the customer objectives of open banking, as set out in the CMA Order.

As we explain earlier in this report, our ecosystem audit analysis continues to demonstrate that, with very few exceptions, the propositions in market consistently fall within these categories. We show these outcome areas in Appendix 4.

We anticipate that the accuracy of the measures will improve in future Impact Reports as we develop new data sets, commission additional research, along with the continued growth of the ecosystem.

A critical mass of customers using open banking-enabled services is a key prerequisite to drawing any reliable conclusions about ultimate customer outcomes.


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