BBVA has become the first bank in the U.S. to offer a full suite of Banking as a Service products after its BBVA Open Platform program moved out of beta.
The move will see the bank offer a large range of banking products and services to businesses who want to offer their customers financial products without taking on full banking themselves. BBVA’s Open Platform initiative enables third parties to easily integrate payments and complementary banking services into their own business models to create seamless user experiences.
Open Platform works by allowing third parties, once they pass strict compliance and security checks, to access through APIs (Application Protocol Interfaces) a range of services the bank can offer.
BBVA’s Banking as a Service solution uniquely allows companies to connect into a core digital banking platform, through which they can access APIs including the Move Money, Identity Verification, Account Origination, and Card Issuance services to name a few.
It is hoped that in the future this kind of initiative will enable companies to bring great financial technology ideas to life for both retail and enterprise clients across industry verticals, as it offers a fast and easy solution for innovators to bring new ideas and products to market. The Open Platform technology is already being used by the likes of Simple and digit.co.
Following a six-month beta period, which has already seen dozens of businesses register their interest in working with BBVA, the service has now gone live more widely. In addition, the Open Platform team also operates a sandbox testing environment, where companies interested in developing solutions linked to banking’s open APIs can work through their proposal before they fully sign up for launch.
While in Europe the move towards open banking services has been driven by regulations like the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), in the U.S. it is expected to be company and consumer interest that pushes things forward.
Commenting on the launch, BBVA Open Platform CEO, Abhishek Gupta, said: “The past six months in beta have allowed us to not only prove the market is there for this kind of innovation in the U.S., but also to ensure the BBVA Open Platform delivers a great experience to our customers.
“Turning this live has been a complex process, because ultimately this is a new service operating in a highly regulated and secure environment. But the potential it will deliver in terms of opening up new lines of business and supporting innovation that can really change the way people and businesses bank, is huge. It’s a real gamechanger.”
BBVA Open Platform is part of BBVA’s push to maximize the potential for open API platform banking more widely. The bank moved ahead of the PSD2 requirements last summer with the launch of the BBVA API Market in Spain, which has 11 banking APIs available for use. In Mexico BBVA has also rolled out a number of APIs, with more due on stream in the coming months.
The platform works as a complete and unified development platform, allowing interested businesses to construct banking solutions for their customers in a way that is flexible, and offers scalable infrastructure for financial technology and digital commerce.
BBVA Open Platform´s Head of Sales and Operations, Brent Baker, said: “The move out of beta For Open Platform signals the real start of BaaS in the U.S., and the culmination of a lot of hard work by the team. “We are also hugely grateful to all those third party partners who have helped us test the platform and iron out the issues before we went live.”
BBVA Open Platform is managed as a separate business, but benefited from being initiated, incubated and connected with the wider BBVA Group, sitting under the management of the BBVA New Digital Businesses unit.
Commenting, Global Head of NDB Ian Ormerod, said: “BBVA firmly believes that the future of banking is about moving from closed to open systems, where putting the customer first and supporting financial services ecosystems will be key to success.
“It’s for that reason we moved first in Europe ahead of PSD2, by seeing the regulatory changes as an opportunity not a threat. “And it's for this reason too, the opportunity open banking creates, that we are now going first in the United States as well.” To find out more, visit BBVA Open Platform website.