The rise of Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a logical next step in fuelling efficiency across existing customer journeys. Rather than diverting buyers to separate channels to complete online purchases, for instance, brands that have already built strong brand recognition can instead cross-sell financial services like credit to already engaged consumers.
by Paddy Vishani, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Yobota
As a result of innovation and growth in embedded finance business models, non-financial brands can now extend credit and other banking services to their customers without having to obtain a regulatory licence – while offering the same protections that come with being a fully regulated bank.
According to PwC, the new revenue potential generated through open banking-enabled SME business and retail customer propositions in the UK was £500 million in 2018. By 2024, Insider Intelligence predicts that this figure will reach £1.9 billion.
Even though the opportunity is compelling, however, there are a few nuances to navigate as banks, BaaS providers and businesses consider forging long-term partnerships.
A winning BaaS partnership
White labelling in financial services is not a new concept; branded credit cards, for instance, have been used by businesses for many years to build customer loyalty. Yet the role of white labelling in the BaaS space is far more involved.
Through flexible plug-and-play application programming interfaces (APIs), banking platform services allow brands to directly tap into the infrastructure of their chosen bank. This means that core elements like risk management, compliance and servicing are all supported.
Importantly, leading BaaS providers will enable businesses to create differentiated offerings, giving businesses the ability not just to implement off-the-shelf banking solutions, but also to curate novel products. Beyond customising the user interface to reflect their brand, the modular architecture of banking platform services empowers businesses to customise, adjust and replace the core components they need at any given point in time. The importance of choosing the right provider thereby becomes apparent.
A BaaS platform must be able to do a number of things. Firstly, it must protect the bank by demonstrating that it can reliably ringfence the clients, their data, and all the processes which will be utilised by different businesses. Core banking vendors should have a proven track record in supporting regulated products, and ideally a leadership team consisting of both technology and banking specialists that are well-versed in regulatory requirements.
The platform must also be designed in a way that offers easy access to all the critical functions provided by the bank: the entry points (usually in the form of an API) must be optimally designed to give businesses the tools they need to realise their vision. The design and flexibility of the architecture are key: BaaS platforms must be extensible and scalable to meet future use cases as customer expectations evolve.
A key component of this is that the representation of financial products should be unbounded. Whether businesses are looking to introduce a variable APR that is dynamically linked to an individual’s credit score, or a savings account that pays interest into an environmental fund, an agile solution is needed to support the long-term evolution of banking products.
Embracing the art of the possible
Embedded banking is increasing the appetite for innovative, tech-driven solutions to solve common pain points across the customer journey. By solving the technical hurdles, BaaS providers like Yobota empower businesses to spin out user-centric offerings that they can run independently.
Sophisticated BaaS solutions should also be able to deliver granular insights into how end customers are interacting with products. Reporting APIs that generate real-time data will enable businesses to continually assess and adapt to industry trends and customer behaviours. Equipped with this knowledge, brands can curate experiences that are truly relevant to their customers’ needs.
The rise of BaaS will no doubt serve to inspire new products and fill unexplored niches in the market. The importance of strategic partnerships, however, cannot be overlooked as banks, providers and businesses set their sights on the new realm of possibilities.