Open banking: build vs buy

What we've learned about why our clients have chosen to accelerate with TrueLayer, instead of building their own open banking data connectors.

Building OB connectors involves a lot of effort and unanticipated challenges for TPPs and ASPSPs alike. Regulatory hurdles and significant total costs of ownership can be easily removed by procuring access through a single regulated provider like TrueLayer.


Behind the scenes

Our journey of building open banking connectors was not easy. We discovered that open banking really is not plug-and-play. Building relationships with banks is time-consuming. We currently provide access to the CMA9, Monzo, Starling, AMEX, Barclaycard and a handful of other brands, bringing our coverage up to over 98% of the UK banked population. This involved hours spent on calls, email exchanges and participating in industry working group sessions in order to build relationships with each of the CMA9.

At one point last year, the OBIE Testing Working Group had a total number of 107 TPP participants. It is no surprise that the ASPSPs (banks) were being inundated with TPP requests for calls, follow-ups and that as a result our (and the many other TPPs) development was almost always subjected to delays and blocked by missing updates or unresolved fixes.

Build considerations

  • Connectivity: integration effort with CMA9, relationship building with CMA9

  • Regulatory: FCA application process for becoming an Authorised AISP or (Registered) RAISP, FCA approval lead times

  • Security: implementation of customer credentials management, customer data security

  • Economic & Technical: ongoing marginal and operational costs of change management, bank relations, technical debt, regular external third-party audits etc.

Accelerate with buy

Choosing to partner with a single third party to procure access to data immediately removes the opportunity cost associated with your engineers’ time taken away from building your core product or service. We have seen client integration timescales ranging from a day to a few weeks. On many occasions, a client has reached out to us only after they have successfully integrated. This is incredibly gratifying as enabling developers to sign up and access API keys for testing for free is one small step that we are taking in empowering and educating new users about open banking.

Buy considerations

  • Connectivity: single integration with TrueLayer to access CMA9, procure and manage a single relationship with TrueLayer

  • Regulatory: accelerated go-to-market by leveraging TrueLayer’s license by becoming an Agent of TrueLayer and in parallel applying your own license

  • Security: customer credentials management and customer data security managed by ISO 27001:2013 certified TrueLayer

  • Economic & Technical: on-going marginal and operational costs of change management, bank relations, technical debt, and total cost of ownership are removed as they are managed by TrueLayer

Other reasons to buy

  • Market and geographical expansion as we scale (did you know that we are launching a Germany beta?) 🇩🇪🌎

  • Quickly solve your use cases 🤓

  • Coverage 📺 - access beyond the CMA9 scope for Open Banking

  • New features and value-added services (e.g. categorisation services)

  • Minimise technical risk and liability ⚠️

  • No significant vendor lock-in 🔓

  • Negate the need to reinvent the wheel 🎡


The case for build

We get it. You still want to keep things in-house, to have complete control over the future of what you are building, and to be able to prioritise and to add new features even before your customers know that they want them.

Early-stage companies are ruthless when it comes to prioritisation. We always aim to close your support ticket as soon as possible and it breaks our CSM to have to tell you that the feature you want most is ticket-687901, 20 sprints away.

The reality of working with a third party (especially an early stage one) is that you are dependent on our timelines. These are often not aligned with your own, and the levels of dedicated support we offer may not be enough to immediately meet all of your needs while we prioritise our internal product and company goals.

When you know exactly what you need, when you need it, have the right expertise, enough resources, relationships, budget, and what you require is not readily available on the market, then it seems logical that what you should be doing is to go away and to BUILD.

The tricky thing for many is that open banking is new and emerging. Most of our clients see the opportunity and efficiencies that can be realised with open banking. But initially they want to test, learn and validate UX and use cases with their customers, before developing their backends to fit with a TPP, or taking on the mammoth task of building individual connectors for something that potentially may not fly.

As our clients continue to validate the business case for Buy by testing and partnering with TrueLayer, either in conjunction with or instead of building their own connectors, we are continuing to refine our value proposition and to build out our value-added services so that the benefits and cost savings are exponential with our growth.

If your mission is to make real change by pushing the boundaries of your offering through open banking and through improving customer experiences, please contact us or sign-up to start testing for free!

We would love to work with you to grow the open banking economy 🚀

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Written by

Account executive
Jiun Yi joined TrueLayer in 2018, and has helped grow the commercial wing of the business from the ground up. She is now leading on Ecommerce & Channel Partnerships.

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