Open Banking outages criticised

Businesses and consumers are losing out because UK banks are failing to prioritise fixing Open Banking outages, with 62 per cent of banks recording a fall in Open Banking availability to customers over the last quarter.

Peer-to-peer business lender Growth Street reviewed publicly-available data which the Open Banking Implementation Entity published on its API downtime monitoring tool.

In the first quarter, Open Banking was only available 83 per cent of the time, down from an average of 95 per cent in the previous quarter - amounting to 5,000 hours of total downtime.

When the service is down, business and consumer users can’t access some features, including viewing borrowing options from other lenders.

HSBC was found to have the worst access time, dropping from 98 per cent availability in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, due to a series of long-running intermittent outages.

Meanwhile, Nationwide saw the greatest improvement, raising availability from 78 per cent to 96 per cent over the same period. Allied Irish Bank was top with 99 per cent availability in the first quarter of the year.

The data shows that banks appear not to be prioritising fixing these outages, as the average ‘service downtime’ took six weeks to fix.

Growth Street chief executive Greg Carter commented: “Over a year since the launch of Open Banking, banks are still failing to give customers a decent level of service.

“In the context of the Banking Remedies Fund awards - which should be going to those fuelling competition and collaboration in business banking - these figures show that the high street banks are still reluctant to show their customers the full breadth of finance options available," he continued, adding: “Banks talk a good game on Open Banking, but the raw data shows a very different picture."

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