So, what's the latest with Open Banking?

It won’t be news to anyone, or at least anyone following the topic, that the recent gambling white paper explicitly mentioned Open Banking as a potential method for conducting affordability and AML checks at enhanced due diligence (EDD). That probably didn’t come as much of a surprise: it’s easy for the consumer, it’s secure, and it gives operators the data they need to make a decision.

But, and there is no point denying it, one objection we still hear from operators is that consumers are not ready to share data via Open Banking. Sometimes that opinion is based on previous experience with the technology, albeit often with a sub-optimal solution or approach that was never going to deliver results. Equally often, however, it is based on not much other than gut feel or hearsay.

So what’s really happening out there? Are consumers ready for Open Banking? And are there smart ways to drive up adoption for the specific use case of EDD within gambling. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that my answers to those questions are “yes” and “yes”. My working is in the rest of this blog post.

Open Banking adoption is real, and growing

If the question is “are consumers willing to share their bank data via Open Banking?” the short and sweet answer is: “they already are”. Over 7 million consumers in the UK, and over 750,000 SMEs, are using Open Banking.  That’s a lot of people, so the idea that there is some major reluctance to share bank data full stop seems fanciful. That is particularly true when you consider that pretty significant swathes of the population haven’t really had any compelling reason to use Open Banking to date anyway.

I was recently a guest on The Gambling Files podcast, during which I made the comment that “Open Banking is something people say they won’t do, until they have a reason to do it”, or words to that effect. What I meant was that in the abstract, most of us probably don’t have a strong opinion about Open Banking, or have a sort of passive “why would I do that?” type of opposition, but when push comes to shove they are quite happy to share that data in order to get something they want.

That might be a flat in London (the example I used on the podcast), securing a lower insurance premium, or - yes - being able to bet with your own money at the levels of your choice.

One occasional objection is that gambling operators are different in some way: that customers will not be willing to share data with these organisations specifically. By way of reassurance, that hasn’t been borne out by our own experience: we’ve seen significant uplifts in users willing to share financial data, particularly when compared to traditional methods of sharing data. In a similar way, it seems customers are happy enough to connect for the purposes of Open Banking payments, and whilst you and I might understand that the specifics of that case are different, does the customer themselves?

The bottom line: it is defeatist to imagine that consumers won’t adopt Open Banking. In most case, it is more likely that operators aren’t trying hard enough.

Making it work

If that’s the case, then what should operators be doing to drive that opt-in? 

It might be easier to start with what they shouldn’t be doing, which I would describe as a one-off hopeful punt on getting a customer to connect via Open Banking, before resorting to the ‘tried and tested’ method (which leads to 80% of customers churning at EDD). 

I do understand why companies do this. Open Banking is ‘new’, maybe it feels a little scary, so we don’t want to go too hard on promoting it early on. That’s the logic anyway. But it helps to remember that the system we have today is absolutely broken. Nothing good happens at EDD at the moment, other than customers who can’t afford their betting behaviour being protected (which, to be fair, is the point of the whole thing!) But from a commercial and time and money perspective, it doesn’t look great.

Open Banking is all upside. So the main lesson is to really give it a go. When a ClearStake customer creates a case, we create a unique link for that case, one that will take the end-user to our hosted environment when they click on it. 

All the operator has to do is get their customer to click that link, and if I know one thing about most operators, it is that they know an awful lot about getting people to click links

Apply that knowledge. That’s all you have to do. Speak to your comms team about how they would approach the challenge, and follow their lead. There are any number of channels you can put to good use, including email, web messaging, web and push notifications, live chat and more. Construct workflows that give you the best possible chance of getting in front of the customer, and craft great copy for when you do. 

Once you think of the challenge in these terms, half the battle is won. It’s then a case of continuing to measure and optimise over time, just as you would with any other marketing campaign. We can’t promise that you’ll see 100% opt-in, or anything like it. But it will certainly be significantly better than what happens today.

Give it a go.