How PSD2 is changing the financial industry


After the development of Internet Banking, and Mobile Banking, the European Union has now paved the way for Open Banking. ‘Open Banking’ is the relatively new umbrella term for opening the bank to other parties to access customer data (Courbe, 2018). The Payment Service Directive (PSD), enforced in 2007, is revised recently with the aim to stir innovation and emphasize consumers’ protection by increasing security and transparency through enhanced know-your-customer capabilities, identity validation, and fraud detection (Brodsky & Oakes, 2017). The new European legislation: ‘The Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2)’, which became applicable in January 2018, sets the banking industry into motion by shifting the authority to share data from financial institutions to bank customers by the rule of: access to account (European Commission, sd). Under PSD2 large financial institutions may move towards the background, maintaining the back-end systems, where digital “giants” are able to extend their close customer relationships by fulfilling the specific customer needs by adding digital value-added services on top of the bank, leading to more competition, digital payment methods and lower transaction costs for consumers (McKinsey, 2016). These digital ‘giants’ like  Amazon and Google, are now able to directly access bank customers and collect the final piece of data that was not accessible before. This could lead to end-to-end solutions that complete the circle of services offered by these parties (PWC, sd).

The Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2)

Two new categories of licences are created: the Payment Initiation Service Providers (PISPs), which enables third parties, if permission is granted, to directly initiate payments at the bank on behalf of the customer; and the AISP (third party account information service providers), multiple accounts of various banks can be combined into one interface (Deloitte, 2016). By establishing a single legal framework for payments within the EU, cross-border payment transactions can be made as easy, efficient and secure as the domestic payments in Europe (European commission, sd). In this way, the directive lowers entry boundaries of the payment market and thus competition increases. Efficiency is reached by standardization of rules, which results in lower transaction costs and improved financial services. Though, new entrants must meet strict technical requirement set by the European Banking Authority. The customer-centric legislation aims for increased security and transparency of Third-Party Service Providers (TPSPs) as well as banks towards customers. Newly non-banking solutions can be offered as well; payments via digital channels such as social media (Noctor, 2018).

By giving Third-Parties their consent, customers have to trust the Third-Party first, but consumers may not be able to assess the same value and sensitivity to certain data elements as banks and regulators do (Brodsky & Oakes, 2017) as they can be blinded by the benefits that a certain payment service of a TPSPs provides. Thus, the customer-centric regulation results in a cost-benefit trade-off concerning the ability to utilize more efficient and improved bank services, while putting one’s own privacy at risk. New consumer-payments relationships in the financial industry raises the need for a better understanding of how to build consumer trust over the internet. Are bank customers willing to share their personal financial information with TPSPs in return for improved financial services or personalized financial applications? In other words, do the benefits outweigh the risks of sharing your financial data? The following paragraphs explain the advantages and disadvantages of the PSD2 along with related developments in banking.  

Personalization of the financial industry

In today’s world, personalization in e-commerce is rather a must than a nice to have. The future of the financial industry will follow the e-commerce sector by responding to the financial needs of consumers through new types of payment services delivered by Third-Parties’ interfaces on top of banks’ existing data and infrastructure. The PSD2 enables, for example, PayPal to provide additional services on top of the banks infrastructure in which the bank customer barely interacts with their own banking institution. This can threaten banks since PayPal can access multiple bank accounts of bank customers, if consent is given, and can thus collect more information on customers. The information can then be used to fulfill the customers’ needs. In this way, banking services can be offered in a more personal way. In contrast to banks, Third-Parties have the benefit that they can specialize on specific needs of consumers since they do not have the burden of meeting all of the needs of the consumers (Deloitte, 2016). Though, Third-Parties still need to be granted access to the banks’ interface through API’s (Application Programming Interface) provided by financial institutions to interact with bank accounts to third-parties. Although the customer centric, mobile and swift nature of TPSP services is in conflict with how banks traditionally operate, banks have the opportunity to differ between basic and advanced API’s in order to generate a new stream of revenue. Banks expect to face the most significant challenge, not from new digital banks or fintechs, but from the consumer tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple. Apart from the end-users’ financial information, these firms were able to access almost every other part of personal information that is available on the internet.

Another important element of banks is their reputation and institutional trust that they have gained over the years. Though, the image of some banks have been harmed in the past years (Volkskrant, 2018), banks do invest heavily in security because their reputation is at stake. TPSPs on the other hand, do not possess a similar security foundation because it was not possible to access bank customers’ accounts or initiate payments on behalf of the customer. However, in the online context, uncertainty increases as users are not aware of the consequences associated with sharing of personal financial information, including account information, obtained financial services and transaction data. Consumers are not likely to share highly sensitive data because of perceived privacy concerns that are due to the invisible nature of the online environment (Culnan & Armstrong, 1999). Thus, e-commerce and consumers are confronted with more payment options, but this does not necessarily benefit to the level of confidence in the payment system, because too much fragmentation of providers can also increase uncertainty and therefore uncertainty among consumers. Then again the conversion at online retailers can have a negative effect in addition to potential market saturation and regulatory burdens which can become another challenge for TPSPs. (Deloitte, 2016). The customer-centric legislation may in the end not be so customer-centric concerning the potential market saturation and the corresponding privacy concerns in the uncertain online environment.

The rise of ‘Digital Giants’ in banking

Currently Google has its primary payment method Google Pay which is a digital wallet that offers a limited number of financial services. As of january 2019, Google has been granted the new payment license in Ireland and Lithuania (Finextra, 2019), which enables them to access bank customers’ account and initiate payments on behalf of the bank customers Although Google did not publish any new service ideas yet, efficiency gains can be made by providing convenient interfaces and features that banks do not offer. These potential services can be combined or linked with existing products, resulting in end-to-end solutions. In this way digital giants are empowered to complete the circle of services offered by these parties. In sum, banks have their brand image and the in-house security foundations as strategic assets, whereas Third-Party Service Providers (TPSPs) have the flexible nature to adapt quickly to customers’ needs. Instead of entering the red ocean, banks can leverage their assets and strengthen their position by collaborating with fintechs and digital giants. Especially, in the uncertain online environment where risk is inherent, trust becomes an important factor. Collaboration is thé solution in the customer-centric world of today. Google has already announced that they prefer to work with banks instead of continuing by themselves. Under the PSD2, Europe puts the customer first and customer protection is number one priority. It is a starting point for change in the traditional financial industry.

References

Brodsky, L. & Oakes, L., 2017. Data sharing and open banking. [Online] Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/data-sharing-and-open-banking [Accessed 18 february 2018].

Courbe, J., 2018. Building ‘Open Banking’ on a Platform of Trust. ABA BANKING JOURNAL , pp. 38-39.

Culnan, M. J. & Armstrong, P. K., 1999. Information Privacy Concerns, Procedural Fairness, and Impersonal Trust: An Empirical Investigation. Organization Science, 10(1), pp. 104-115.

Deloitte, 2016. Anticipating the challenges and opportunities of the PSD2. Inside, June, pp. 60-65.

European Commission, n.d. Payment services. [Online] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/banking-and-finance/consumer-finance-and-payments/payment-services/payment-services_en [Accessed 18 february 2018].

Finextra, (2019). Google gets payments licence in Ireland. [Online] Available at:https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/33167/google-gets-payments-licence-in-ireland [Accessed 22 february 2019].

McKinsey, 2016. Technology innovations driving change in transaction banking. [Online] Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/technology-innovations-driving-change-in-transaction-banking [Accessed 18 february 2019].

PWC, n.d. PSD2 stimuleert slimme authenticatiemethoden banken. [Online] Available at: https://www.pwc.nl/nl/themas/blogs/psd2-stimuleert-slimme-authenticatiemethoden-banken.html[Accessed 17 february 2018].

Volkskrant, (2018). Ministers wil schandalen zoals bij ING voorkomen en scherpt beloning van bankiers verder aan. [Online] Available at: https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/minister-wil-schandalen-zoals-bij-ing-voorkomen-en-scherpt-beloning-bankiers-verder-aan~b37cfd78/?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F[Accessed at 22 february 2019]


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