The open banking fintech Nordic API Gateway has introduced a new platform called Aiia that is set to meet the opportunities of PSD2, for all types of businesses, making innovation possible without cumbersome and expensive tasks of acquiring and maintaining an AISP or PISP license.
With the new platform, Aiia, Nordic API Gateway believes that any industry will be able to benefit from the PSD2-enabled access to account-to-account payments alongside access to financial data. The company also expects that new open banking use cases within retail, accounting system providers, eCommerce and more will emerge with the launch of Aiia. So far, not many companies have been licensed as third-party providers by the local FSAs in the Nordics since the launch in 2018, which shows that financial innovation is being held back.
Rune Mai, CEO and Founder of Nordic API Gateway, said: “Open banking hasn’t been as open as we’ve hoped for; we haven’t seen many TPP registrations going live across the Nordics. With that being said, we see that the interest in using financial data and instant account-to-account payments is increasing across industries and the open banking movement is starting to mature. Our recent survey amongst SMEs and financial institutions shows that more than 91% of the surveyed were aware of PSD2”
In order to access financial data or initiate open banking payments on behalf of European consumers, businesses need to acquire an AISP or PISP license from the local Financial Supervisory Authorities. However these licenses can be costly, time-consuming and difficult to obtain for start-ups and businesses that don’t necessarily fit the profile of an AISP or PISP, based on the various descriptions set forth by the FSAs across Europe. This is where the Aiia platform comes in, allowing businesses to test and get started with the power of a digital bank in their app(s) from day one.
“With Aiia, we’re doing an open banking with batteries included model. There’s nothing sadder than spending hours unpacking a product that’s tied to the packaging only to realise that it needs 10 batteries that aren’t included. That’s exactly what open banking is today to many businesses that want to get going with the PSD2-enabled opportunities for their customers straight away. With Aiia, you get to interact with the product right out of the box and basically skip the hassle of lengthy and ongoing registration processes and expenses,” Mai continued.
With an increase in usage of open banking-enabled services by consumers and businesses in Europe, there will be a need for transparency regarding how the data is being used by companies accessing their customers’ financial data. To secure that, the Aiia platform is also set to empower consumers by providing an overview of which services they’re sharing their financial data with, how it’s being used and the ability to revoke access directly from third parties.
The platform is currently being rolled out across Europe, offering account information and payment initiation services to meet new open banking use cases. Aiia is already being leveraged by various companies across multiple industries in the Nordics and will be fully rolled out across Europe by 2021.
Elsewhere in Nordic payments, Contactless payments have taken a leap forward during 2020, in part driven by concerns around the potential spread of Covid-19. The contactless payment ratio has grown from around 57% in early January to 75% of all in-store card payments in late October this year, according to data from Nets, a leading Nordic payment provider.
Contactless payments have been encouraged by health authorities and merchants to limit physical contact among consumers during the pandemic. The result has been that behavioural changes anticipated to take years have happened in mere months.
In Norway and Denmark, the governments imposed strong restrictions on social activities from late March, leading to a surge in contactless payments across shops and restaurants. In Norway in January 2020, only 35% of payments were made contactless; by late October, it had more than doubled to 77% – overtaking Sweden and Finland in the process. During just one week of the Norwegian lockdown, the share of contactless payments jumped six points.
Contactless payments are transactions initiated by contactless interaction between the consumer’s card and the merchant terminal, even if a PIN-code may also be required when the payment exceeds a certain limit. To further facilitate adoption, Norway increased the transaction limit to pay contactlessly without inputting a PIN code from NOK 400 to 500, while Sweden doubled the amount from SEK 200 to 400 in mid-April. In Denmark, the limit has been DKK 350 for over two years.
The contactless limit set by EU law is EUR 50, which is honoured in Finland. Contactless payments through mobile devices, such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, work on all payment terminals with contactless functionality and have no transaction limit, as the purchase is approved through mobile verification.