• Benjamin Elliott

Open Banking Directory: Everything You Need To Know

Open Banking Directory: What Your Business Needs To Know

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) runs a directory which forms the structure of the Open Banking ecosystem. Third-party providers can join the Open Banking directory and interact with ASPSPs through the use of APIs.


In the most simple terms, the directory provides an identity and access management service for Open Banking.


As a third-party provider, it’s incredibly important to be part of the Open Banking directory. This allows providers to connect with financial institutions, validate their information, and access important Open Banking technical information.


In this guide, we’ll explain what the Open Banking directory is in more detail, and how businesses can access and use it.


What is the Open Banking Directory?

The Open Banking directory is a complete list of all regulated third-party providers and account providers that are in operation in the UK’s Open Banking network. The Open Banking directory makes it easy for banks or account providers to verify third party providers and confirm whether they are regulated.


The Open Banking directory forms the core infrastructure of the Open Banking ecosystem. All participants in the Open Banking directory can request and grant access to customers' financial data. This is done through secure, permission enabled Open Banking APIs.


Having a single, trusted directory makes Open Banking easier to navigate. It also adds a sense of legitimacy to any businesses listed in the directory.


Businesses that are enrolled in the Open Banking directory can manage their company profile from this directory. Listed businesses can manage the digital certificates and software statements that they need to connect account providers to when using Open Banking’s API standards.


Any banks and financial institutions in Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle Of Man can also join the Crown Dependencies Directory and offer customers access to Open Banking services here.


What Are the Main Functions Of the Open Banking Directory?

The Open Banking directory exists to cover three main functions. There are:


1. Managing Identities and Access

Identity records can be issued for any organisation or people who interact with the Open Banking directory.


2. Manage Certificates

Digital certificates can be issued, managed, and revoked through the Open Banking directory.


3. Manage Directory Information

Providers can find and update information through the directory. This can be done through APIs or a web application.


Benefits Of the Open Banking Directory

There are a few important reasons why organisations should join the Open Banking directory. The main reasons include:


  • The Open Banking directory provides a secure and reputable entry into the Open Banking system

  • The Open Banking directory can be used to confirm that all organisations listed are operating under the right permissions

  • The OBIE provides support and expertise

  • Organisations listed in the Open Banking directory have decreased regulatory and reputational risk

How to Get Listed On the Open Banking Directory

First, businesses will need to file an application with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Account Information Service Provider (AISP) or a Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP). Once this application is approved, the business will need to register directly with the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE).


The application process through the OBIE is relatively easy, and it is all done online. The entire application process takes a few weeks.


However, businesses do not need to wait for final approval. Registered providers in the Open Banking system can start their directory enrollment after they have filed their applications.


Open Banking Requirements

Open Banking is a process of getting users to share their banking data through Open APIs. As more third-party providers gain access to this, the risk around Open Banking increases. This is why there are strict requirements for businesses to make it onto the Open Banking directory list.


In order to become an approved Open Banking provider on the Open Banking Directory, providers will need to meet three key requirements.


1. Consent

Banking institutions need to be able to confirm that Open Banking users have granted consent to having their data shared. This means that users need to have a way to authorise third-party access to their data. The third party also needs to be able to authenticate who they are.


2. Onboarding

There needs to be a clear process that allows banks to onboard third parties. During this onboarding process, the third-party provider needs to be able to be verified, and show that they can be trusted with personal account information.


3. Access

For Open Banking to work, the third-party providers need to be able to access user account banking data. At the same time, banks and financial institutions need to be able to protect this data, and ensure it is only accessed with the users' clear consent.


By meeting these three requirements, third-party providers are able to establish trust and consent. This is necessary for them to become regulated members of Open Banking. While the Open Banking ecosystem and APIs can be complex, having providers meet the necessary requirements and join the well-organised Open Banking directory makes things a lot easier.


Summary

To access the full power of the UK’s Open Banking system, you will need to access the Open Banking directory. This is where all regulated providers can be verified, and connect with ASPSPs to operate.


A directory is also a place where providers can manage their profiles, and digital certificates, and ensure all of their information is correct.


The Open Banking directory forms the main architectural framework for the Open Banking ecosystem. All businesses enrolled in the directory are authorised to provide Open Banking-enabled services, so all providers must meet the right requirements and join this directory.

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