BBVA is kickstarting the launch of it open banking program by making eight of its APIs commercially available for the first time.
The launch of BBVA API Market comes after the Spanish bank spent more than a year working with developers and businesses to optimize the way the Open API service would be delivered.
In opening up with APIs like this, BBVA has become one of the first major banks in the world to deliver open banking - a move which is intended to lead to significantly increased products and services for customers and clients.
In making commercially available eight APIs through the BBVA API Market, companies, startups, and developers will be able to build new products and services by accessing and integrating customer’s banking data - with their permission - into their applications.
“By opening commercially our data and services, BBVA is turning ‘open banking’ - a model that is going to speed up the transformation of the financial industry - into a reality. Not only are we adapting to EU standard PSD2, which aims to boost competition in the industry, but are actually aiming to become the best platform on which to build new digital experiences. This is a customer-led business opportunity." says Derek White, Global Head of Customer Solutions at BBVA.
Initially only Spanish customers of BBVA will be able to benefit from the market - but BBVA intends to roll the program out to its USA customers later this year, before expanding it further to include Turkey, Mexico, Latin America and beyond. Companies from anywhere in the world will be able to apply to use the individual customer data sets from Spain - provided of course the customer wants them to, and gives permission. There will also be some anonymous aggregated data sets made commercially available - with the data broken down geographically or by sector.
This launch comes after BBVA spent 2016 exploring this business model and how to make it work best for its customers and clients. During this time, over 1,500 businesses and developers registered with the experimental portal to get a first-hand feel of the possibilities the BBVA’s APIs can bring to their businesses.
This first experimental stage has been instrumental in learning what companies really need and defining the protocols required to build a 100% safe environment. From now on, companies can use the APIs available in Spain to create new value added services, deliver better user experiences by improving conversion and onboarding processes, manage payments, verify identities, forward notifications or analyze consumer habits and commercial behavior, among other things.
All these possibilities come on top of the data privacy and security warranty offered by BBVA. The applications built based on these APIs are only granted access to the information if the customer expressly accepts the service’s activation, with the exception of Paystat that works with statistics, aggregated and anonymized data from cards transactions.
"We believe the data belongs to our customers, and we want to make it easier for them to share their information with those companies that offer them value"
“At BBVA, we believe the data belongs to our customers, and we want to make it easier for them to share their information with those companies that offer them value and are capable of delivering the best services for them,” says Raúl Lucas, Head of Open APIs in Spain.
What BBVA ultimately seeks by opening its platform to third party applications is to create synergies with the most innovative tech businesses out there to build a new generation of digital experiences for customers that are as convenient and advantageous as possible. For BBVA it is about creating opportunities and helping customers achieve their ambitions.
BBVA is already working with IBEX 35 companies in Spain, but also with geomarketing startups such as Geoblink, Carto or Bismart which are using the statistical data provided in Paystats, and with management software vendors, such as Anfix, Simplygest or international giant SAGE.
“The great thing about this business is that we can think up some basic uses, and build a service around those,” says Lucas. “But when we make them available to third parties—the ones who really know their businesses—they come up with uses which would never even have occurred to us.”
The APIs could also provide BBVA with new sources for customer acquisitions and loan originations. For example, through the loans API, third parties can inform customers when they have access to a pre-approved loan from BBVA. Additionally, the API can be integrated into the checkout process to allow customers to finance their purchase of a third party product or service at the point of sale with a BBVA loan
The open APIs strategy is a key element of BBVA’s transformation strategy, which will allow it become the innovation engine for other companies, contributing to create opportunities both for these companies and for our own customers.