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Altitude's Guide to the Best Open Banking Platforms in 2021

Updated: Jul 20


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Many of the financial institutions we’re working with are preparing for the advent of open banking. There are a number of reasons financial institutions may want to launch APIs for data access.


These reasons include:

  1. Enabling a more secure way for clients to use their data on third-party apps, rather than inputting their username and password into an aggregator that does screen scraping.

  2. Control the data that’s accessible and have analytics on all of the data that is accessed.

  3. Using APIs to share data is more efficient compared to screen scraping.

  4. Real-time updates for account data in third-party applications, which would lead to higher accuracy and a better experience for clients.

  5. Providing new financial services through Fintech partnerships.


In almost all cases, our clients are looking for tools and platforms to accomplish this. We’ve researched and compared a number of open banking platforms available in the market today, to facilitate that decision.


Open Banking Platforms

A few prominent technology incumbents have created packaged solutions for open banking. These include APIs, integrations with core banking systems, and management tools that enable organizations to control access and get analytics about API usage. Not surprisingly, aggregators like Plaid, MX, and Yodlee have their own offerings, and we believe they are well positioned to capitalize on the open banking opportunity due to their existing relationships with banks and fintechs implementing their products. Most of the players we’ve looked at are in North America, although we’ve examined a few European players as well. Our assessment of these platforms is described in Figure 1 and the details below.


We’ve classified the platforms into four categories:

API Platform - vendors that are traditionally API management platforms, and have developed API management offerings for open banking use cases.

Open Banking Platform - vendors whose business is exclusively focused on open banking technology.

Aggregator - companies that started as account aggregators and have developed bilateral data sharing capabilities and access control mechanisms for open banking.

Core Banking Platform - vendors that develop core banking platforms, and have also created tightly integrated open banking solutions.


The vendors examined in this paper were assessed based on the Gartner Magic Quadrant* methodology: Completeness of Vision - based on publicly available roadmap, differentiation, and thought leadership content, and Ability to Execute - based on the company’s experience and organizational strength.


Figure 1: Open Banking Platform Rankings



Plaid Exchange

Plaid is a well-known aggregator based in San Francisco, that is used to connect to banks by over 2,600 applications. Among Plaid’s clients are familiar names such as Venmo, Betterment, Square Cash App, and Robinhood. Plaid has been traditionally using screen scraping and bi-lateral data sharing agreements to obtain client and account data. In May 2020, Plaid announced the launch of Plaid Exchange, its open banking solution, to become an official channel for banks to share financial data.


Strengths:

  • Connected to over 1100 financial institutions.

  • An extensive list of Fintech implementations.

  • Robust product vision.


Cautions:

  • API management tools are minimal and not fully fleshed out.


We believe that Plaid will be one of the leading providers in open banking due to their extensive network of financial institution relationships, partner implementations, and ease of use of their product. Plaid has significant and ever expanding footing in both sides of the market.


Oracle

One of the oldest established Silicon Valley software giants, Oracle has a mature suite of banking products. It is no surprise that Oracle has also released an open banking solution that complements and integrates natively with its core banking products.


Strengths:

  • Mature company and platform. Oracle features over 1600 APIs for open banking and core banking functions (see Figure 2).

  • Deep integration with Oracle’s core banking platform (see Figure 3).

  • A comprehensive set of complementary Oracle banking products.


Cautions:

  • Likely dependent on the Oracle technology stack and databases. At present, it’s not clear whether there is a cloud offering available.

  • Traditionally, Oracle products have had challenges in customer experience.

  • High maintenance fees.


Figure 2: Oracle’s Banking APIs. Source: Oracle Corporation.


Figure 3: Oracle’s Open Banking Solution. Source: Oracle Corporation.


Axway

Axway is an enterprise integration company established in the year 2000. Axway specializes in digital transformation and has been traditionally focused on managed file transfer, B2B integration, API management, content services, and other mission-critical solutions. Axway is making a significant investment in open banking. In 2020, financial technology executive Eyal Sivan joined Axway as the Head of Open Banking. Mr. Sivan also runs a podcast named Mr. Open Banking. Axway’s vision goes beyond financial data into other industries - what the company calls “open everything”.


Strengths:

  • Execution strength and product diversity.

  • Partnerships with technology giants and consultancies that include AWS, Deloitte, Microsoft, Accenture, Capgemini, CGI, Cognizant, Dell, DXC, HP, Hitachi, and KPMG.


Cautions:

  • Open Banking appears to be a nascent practice within Axway, but it is evidently a significant area of focus.


Register for our upcoming webinar: Moving from Private to Public APIs for Open Banking



MX

MX is another established financial aggregator and portal. Based in Lehi, UT, MX offers multiple products that include financial data aggregation, data enhancement, account and identity verification, wealth management solutions, and personal financial management (PFM). On its website, MX advertises the Open Finance Portal for open banking connectivity.


Strengths:

  • An established roster of clients and data connections.

  • Robust open banking vision.

  • A strong set of complementary products.


Cautions:

  • Maturity of the open banking platform and management tools is not clear.


Yodlee

One of the oldest and most established aggregators, Envestnet’s Yodlee is a well-known name among both banks and mature Fintechs. Yodlee has announced its open banking platform, which is based on the FastLink 4.0 product.


Strengths:

  • Established bank partnerships and bi-lateral data sharing agreements. Partners include such as Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo, and others.

  • 21,000 financial institution connections and an extensive list of clients that include Intuit’s Mint and QuickBooks.

  • Data enrichment capabilities using machine learning-based actionable insights.


Cautions:

  • The FastLink 4.0 API is complicated to implement and maintain.

  • Product seems like an adaptation of the Yodlee aggregator. Financial institution API management and instrumentation tools are not evident.


Finqware

Finqware is a Fintech startup based in Bucharest, Romania. The company was established in 2018, and in January 2021 has secured a seed round of 500,000 EUR. Despite being an early stage company, Finqware has secured notable clients that are Eastern European banks that include Banca Transilvania (the largest bank in Romania by assets) and 7 Croatian banks.


Strengths:

  • Open Banking vision and company agility.


Cautions:

  • Early stage company. The primary focus appears to be on Eastern Europe.


Open Bank Project

Open Bank Project is an open-source banking middleware. It’s run and managed by TESOBE, a Berlin-based professional services company that implements open banking at European banks. According to the company’s website, Open Bank Project includes 350 APIs and is used by 11,000 developers. Their source code is available on GitHub.


Strengths:

  • Established financial industry relationships in Europe.

  • Frequent contributions through open source.

  • Agility of company and platform.


Cautions:

  • Open source platform lends itself to security challenges.

  • Limited number of contributors.

  • Roadmap: future plans for the platform are not obvious from existing public information. The Open Bank Project roadmap is available on Github. Open Source software doesn’t easily lend itself to clear roadmapping.


SAP

The German software giant SAP AG is well-known for its ERP software and has a strong foothold in many corporations. Not surprisingly, SAP is also playing in the open banking space and is referencing several clients on their website that have started using a combination of SAP’s products to deliver a more connected, enhanced customer experience. SAP has also published a detailed whitepaper with a robust vision for the future of banking and where it sees itself playing.


Strengths:

  • Strong footing in the enterprise space with well-established ERP and business management products.

  • Robust vision for the future of banking, relying on: Seamless Connectivity, Data-Driven Intelligence, Operational Effectiveness, Financial Insight and Risk Control.

  • A solid network of partners, including top global consulting and professional services firms.


Cautions:

  • Open Banking solution seems to be an adaptation of existing products - but it wouldn’t be surprising if SAP announces a dedicated platform in the near future.

  • High licensing costs, based on the company’s enterprise focus and pricing of existing products.


MuleSoft

MuleSoft is a San Francisco-based software company that provides integration software for connecting applications, data, and devices. Mulesoft was acquired by Salesforce in 2018 for $6.5 billion. Although Mulesoft’s focus is primarily on API management, the company has made strides into Open Banking through a partnership with Plaid (link). MuleSoft also published a whitepaper describing how to build open banking solutions using MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform.


Strengths:

  • Solid API management platform backed by Salesforce, with out of the box compliance with ISO 27001, SOC 2, PCI DSS and GDPR.

  • Ability to enrich customer experience through integration with multiple data sets via the Salesforce cloud and MuleSoft’s Data Integration and IoT offerings.


Cautions:

  • No apparent packaged solution designed specifically for open banking. The focus is on API management and lends itself better for clients designing and building their open banking platform on top of MuleSoft’s tools.



Apigee

Apigee is an API management company that was established in 2004 and acquired by Google in 2016 for $625 million. Apigee’s robust API management capabilities and Google backing lend it well to delivering an open banking offering. Apigee’s open banking solution is marketed as a part of Google Cloud as Apigee Open Banking APIx. It includes API accelerators for Open Banking (UK) and PSD2 (EU) compliance. An additional API Accelerator is available for Australia/CDR compliance. We classify Apigee as a challenger due to its heavier focus on API management as opposed to providing a dedicated open banking product.


Strengths:

  • Reputable and robust API management platform with an impressive roster of clients that includes PayPal, Equifax, and Goldman Sachs.

  • Native Google Cloud integration and reliability.


Cautions:

  • Primarily focused on API management. No dedicated open banking product or publicly shared open banking vision.


LUXHUB

LUXHUB is an open banking platform based in Luxembourg, founded in 2018 by four Luxembourgish banks. LUXHUB currently has direct connectivity to 35 European banks. In its three years of existence, the company has developed five major solutions: XS2A PSD2 Compliance API, LUXHUB Marketplace, LUXHUB One (account aggregation API), and CEDR (Central Electronic Data Retrieval System) API, CEDR (Central Electronic Data Retrieval System) Solution.


Strengths:

  • Product diversity and use cases supported.

  • A marketplace of Fintech partners, designed to facilitate collaboration and integration with banks.

  • Backing of four established Luxembourgish banks.


Cautions:

  • LUXHUB’s focus is on Europe, as is evident in its investors’ markets and emphasis on PSD2, making its platform most suitable for banks that conduct business primarily in Europe.


ndgit

ndgit is an open finance company based in Germany. It delivers multiple solutions, including a Banking as a Service (BaaS), Lending for individuals and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), Open Wealth (a wealth management ecosystem), FX Payments and PSD2 Compliance. According to its website and to Sifted, ndgit is one of the top 4 fastest growing companies in Germany. In 2020, ndgit was awarded “Best Banking Platform Germany 2020” by International Business Magazine.


Strengths:

  • Product diversity in both banking and insurance.

  • Strong European customer base that includes UBS, Mobile.de, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Berenberg, and Bank für Sozialwirtschaft.


Cautions:

  • Primarily focused on the European market.



Kong API Gateway

Kong was established in Italy in 2009 as Mashapps. It open sourced its product Kong to the community in 2015. Backed by Andreesen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt. Kong powers reliable digital connections across APIs, hybrid and multi-cloud environments.


Kong’s product is focused on API management, with a growing set of capabilities in open banking. Kong also provides a solution for Australia’s CDR (Consumer Data Right), a standard that includes financial and non-financial data.


Kong also facilitates compliance in API and service management that secures, manages, and monitors services. It integrates with multiple protocols and platforms, including AWS, GCP, Azure, K8S, and on-premise data centres. Kong also offers two ebooks on its Kong Open Banking website: Compliance Guide and Open Banking and Open Banking and Consumer Data Right (Australian market).


Strengths:

  • Robust API management platform, gateway and service mesh, and a powerful set of management and monitoring tools.

  • Global focus, as well as one of the few providers we’ve examined that has specific offerings for the Australian market.


Cautions:

  • Kong’s core business is an API management platform, with multiple applications. Open Banking is one of those applications, but is not a core focus.



Akana

Akana was founded in 2001 and acquired by Perforce Software in 2019. Akana delivers a robust API management platform that helps enterprises to digitally transform. Akana’s open banking solution is active in Europe, and the company is currently developing its solutions for other markets. Akana’s open banking platform features a decoupled enterprise integration architecture, no-code configuration that facilitates deployment agility, options for on-premise and multi-cloud deployment, and automated platform provisioning with CI/CD integration and Docker. Akana’s open banking solution also takes advantage of its other products and API management capabilities such as deployments of multiple API interfaces, organizational and user-based permission management, and a sandbox environment with mock responses for development purposes.


Strengths:

  • Proven solution at major banks, including Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, and Íslandsbanki (Bank of Iceland).

  • Multiple open banking requirements supported: PSD2, UK Open Banking, and CDR (Australia).

  • Robust API management platform, tested and proven at major global corporations.


Cautions:

  • None so far.


Tink

Tink is a European open banking platform based in Stockholm, Sweden. According to its website, Tink is connected to 3,400 banks with one API. Among its clients are ABN Amro, Major Nordic Bank, BNP Paribas, Nordea, and Caixa Geral de Depósitos. In November 2020, Tink announced the acquisition of Eurobits Technologies, based in Madrid and providing connectivity with banks that include BBVA, Santander, National Bank of Greece, and La Banque Postale. Tink advertises an easy to use API, ready-made authentication flows under their PSD2 license, and breadth of data by offering both PSD2 and non-PSD2 data through its platform.


Strengths:

  • Breadth of financial institution coverage that includes 3,400 banks.

  • Diversity of offerings: Account aggregation, account check (verification), data enrichment, payment initiation, money manager (PFM).

  • Simple API using the company's PSD2 license, plus data enrichment with non-PSD2 data.


Cautions:


finAPI

finAPI is based in Munich, Germany. Its clients banks and Fintechs: Holland’s ING Bank, Deutsche Kreditbank AG (Germany’s second-largest Direct bank), Germany’s fifth-largest bank HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit), and also Fintechs: financial planning companies Wealthpilot and Rentablo, liquidity planner Commitly and others. finAPI’s open banking API provides connections to banks in 5 countries: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. The company offers additional products: Transaction Categorization, PFM, Payment Initiation via SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) credit and collective transfers, and Debit via PISP (Payment Initiation Service Provider).



Strengths:

  • Diversity of offerings. Includes account aggregation, categorization, cash flow analysis, risk analysis, and KYC.

  • Integrations with banks, fintechs and ERPs.


Cautions:

  • Presence in 5 countries in Europe makes finAPI a good option for businesses that are going to operate only in those regions.



FinLeap Connect

FinLeap Connect is the open banking subsidiary of FinLeap. It’s based in Berlin, Germany. The FinLeap Connect API is used by big banks such as Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank and Das kann Bank (DKB), and also Fintechs. FinLeap Connect offers use cases for onboarding, account verification, credit scoring, data enrichment, and also account and portfolio switching. FinLeap Connect’s API documentation is available online.


Strengths:

  • Diversity of offerings and use cases supported.


Cautions:

  • API reliability has been found spotty by some users in practical use case scenarios.



In summary, there are multiple platforms available for open banking implementation. Some are pre-packaged purpose-specific products, while others are focused on API management and are geared towards organizations that will do their own implementation. If your organization is using an existing vendor for your core banking platform, it may make sense to select an open banking platform that natively integrates with that vendor. If you need help with assessing your organization’s readiness for open banking and platform selection, contact us for a consultation.


Are there any additional open banking platforms that you believe we should cover? Please let us know.


*We have conducted our analysis and classification of open banking platforms using the Gartner Magic Quadrant framework. Altitude Consulting is not affiliated with Gartner.



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