Open banking vs PSD2

If you’ve heard of open banking and PSD2 but aren’t sure what these terms mean or how they relate to your business, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’re going to look at what open banking and PSD2 are, explain the differences between the two, and explore how they work together to improve security and the user experience when making payments online.

What is open banking?

Open banking is a system that allows regulated third-party financial service providers to access and control consumers’ bank accounts, creating an easier and more transparent way to manage transactions.

It was created to increase competition and innovation in the banking market. By providing API integration with a variety of banking, ecommerce, money management, and payment processing applications, open banking gives consumers better access to their financial data while offering increased functionality for businesses.

While this offers exciting innovation opportunities for banks, fintech companies, and ecommerce businesses, the open-source nature of the system is governed by stringent security measures to protect consumers. In order to ensure that open banking is as safe as possible, new regulations and directives have had to be implemented, including the Revised Payment Services Directive, or PSD2.

What is PSD2?

The Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is an updated version of the EU legislation designed to enforce higher security standards for online transactions.

One of the aims of PSD2 is to encourage the development of alternative digital payment methods across devices such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets, giving third-party financial service providers access to consumer account information without having to visit their bank’s online portal. This is what makes open banking possible.

PSD2 specifies that consumers have the right to use any third-party provider for their online banking services. Banks are therefore mandated to provide open APIs to enable cross-platform access to their customers’ account and payment information – with the customer’s consent.

A key aspect of PSD2 is the improved security measures that it enforces, particularly the requirements for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for online payments in the European Economic Area (EEA). SCA improves security by requiring customers to complete extra verification steps when making online purchases. This is particularly important where open banking and APIs are involved, as it helps to minimise the risk of fraud.

What’s the difference between PSD2 and open banking?

There are a few key differences between PSD2 and open banking.

First of all, PSD2 is mandatory European legislation that applies to the EEA, Monaco, and the UK. Open banking is only a requirement for the UK’s nine largest banks, although smaller banks and some based outside of the UK have also chosen to adopt open banking.

 PSD2 and open banking are also subject to different compliance standards. While PSD2 is fairly unrestricted in its application, allowing payment providers to choose their own methods of fulfilling compliance criteria, open banking is limited to a predefined API to ensure a standardised approach.

Essentially, PSD2 and open banking standards work together to make digital banking safer, more streamlined, and more versatile.

Benefits of open banking for consumers

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that open banking benefits customers.

Easier online payments

With so many different online vendors and ecommerce platforms, making purchases online can be complicated. In standard applications, card details entered on a business’s website are sent through an acquirer, which then contacts the card provider to take payment from the consumer’s account.

Moving between these different parties means more time spent entering passwords and registering payment cards, which can be frustrating. Open banking makes it possible to authenticate the payment and take the funds directly from a consumer’s account without involving any third parties.

Better security

Only businesses approved by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) are permitted can use open banking to access customer accounts. This means that any organisations using open banking will be subject to strict checks and held to PSD2 standards.

As we’ve seen above, open banking allows for direct access to a customer’s account rather than requiring them to log in to various applications and systems. This presents a lower security risk, as their password information is only ever shared with their bank.

More transparency and control

APIs allow for cross-platform functionality between different financial applications. If a consumer has accounts with multiple banks, they would typically have to log in to each separately. Open banking allows users to view various accounts at different banks simultaneously, making it easier to manage their finances.

In the long term, this could mean an entirely new approach to banking, where customers can mix and match specific products and services across different banks to create a personalised finance solution, with everything accessible in one place.

Benefits of open banking for businesses

Open banking also offers a lot of benefits for businesses.

More sales

By providing a more streamlined checkout process, Open banking means that customers can pay for their purchases in just a few clicks. This is particularly important when aiming to provide a reliable shopping experience as it minimises complex data entry.

A safe, efficient, and regulated payment process gives your customers the confidence that they won’t waste time entering their details only to have the transaction fail at the last step. Ensuring a smooth transaction also helps to minimise cart abandonment, resulting in increased sales, happier customers, and more repeat business. 

Increased security

One of the biggest benefits of open banking is that it provides a secure way to process payments. This means that as well as protecting their customers, businesses are able to keep their own data safe as well.

Along with minimising the number of third-party providers that are able to view and store sensitive data, open banking also champions stricter anti-fraud measures. By enforcing SCA practices outlined in PSD2, stringent security checks and payment authentication processes are an integral part of open banking.

Cheaper payment services

Processing payments can be expensive, with businesses paying fees to a variety of third-party providers. Open banking makes it possible for consumers to pay directly from their bank accounts, allowing businesses to minimise the cost of certain types of transaction.

With reduced transactional and operational costs, open banking offers great savings for vendors without compromising on security, while providing additional functionality and an enhanced customer experience. .

Faster settlement

Waiting for funds to clear can be inconvenient, especially for smaller businesses and startups that rely on a healthy cash flow to remain operational. Whereas payments taken via card and Direct Debit can take several days to clear, open banking payments offer immediate settlements.

This means that your business will always have the money it needs on hand, minimising time spent worrying about being able to access your funds. It also gives you the peace of mind that payments have been processed and won’t bounce at a later date.

A seamless payment experience for your customers

Here at Mollie, we can help you offer customers a seamless payment experience that minimises cart abandonments, boosts your sales, and increases brand loyalty. And if you’d like to take advantage of the benefits that open banking and PSD2 offers to you and your customers, explore using payments with Mollie.

With secure transactions, effortless integrations, and the ability to accept a host of payment methods, it’s never been easier to grow your business.

Get better payments now.