Article written by Dexter Cousins

Marie Steinthaler -TrueLayer

Dexter Cousins speaks with Marie Steinthaler, VP Asia with Truelayer about Australia's 1st July launch of CDR and open banking.

Marie can you tell us more about TrueLayer?

TrueLayer is a platform that provides global access to open banking. And what I mean by that is essentially a way for our clients to securely access their end users bank data, and payment capability through one normalised platform. And we do that by going out and finding the best banking API's out there. We then normalise across many different countries, use cases, API protocols, you name it, and then package it up in a platform that our clients can build on top of and innovate on top of by using their customers banking data or payment rails.

For those that don't know what open banking is, Could you give a brief overview for an everyday customer?

I would define open banking as a manifestation of the belief that the data that you create when you bank is yours. So the information that you create, every time you pay for something, you send a payment, you use your banking services, that is your data, and you should be able to use that data to your benefit. Whether that be better pricing, better access to products, verify certain things about your person that may otherwise be hard to verify. And to just make it very easy for you to be in control of how that data gets shared and how it gets used. 

The empowerment of the customer is very much at the heart of open banking. Beyond that, at an industry level, it’s about making the collaboration between financial institutions and fintechs more open and more focused around the customer. That's at the heart of it. And TrueLayer was born to enable such a collaboration.

You recently partnered with Revolut. How's that going?

Yeah, going great. And we love working with Revolut and other internationally minded high growth, tech forward businesses. I like to call them an execution machine. They're so good at putting new products out there and listening to their customers. They make it very easy for customers to adopt new things like open banking. And we're excited about some of the new things they're working on as well.

You are about to launch in Australia? What is it about Australia that's attractive to TrueLayer?

We are building a global platform. So while we started in the UK and expanded to Europe, when we looked at the rest of the world, it was really a case of looking for markets where a few things are in place. One is a growing and well supported FinTech ecosystem. The second is regulators who are conducive and supportive of open banking, and want it to happen quickly. The third is our existing customers and if they want to expand to a region. 

Australia scores well for TrueLayer on all three criteria. And, as I'm sure you know, FinTech Australia, and organisations like that are testament to the growing ecosystem in the market. There's also a huge amount of room for disruption. When you when you look at how profitable Australia is, as a market for financial services, as the saying goes your margin is my opportunity

Australia has had some very well documented trust issues with banks and a royal commission. What have you learned from open banking in the UK that you think Australia can action to really help push ahead?

One narrative I've heard in a lot of conversations with potential clients or people in the Australian ecosystem is sometimes a bit of impatience or disappointment with the speed of the development in Australia.

If the CDR API is launched in July, it's still going to be faster than PSD2 was launched in the UK and in Europe. Fundamentally, I think for such a complex industry spanning project, Australia is  doing a decent job at speed. 

Obviously, that's no reason to slow down and I think we all want it to happen. ASAP. 

I would focus on thinking about use cases and not being afraid to give use cases a try. The big questions and the most important aspect of CDR is Will people actually use this? Are they going to be willing to share their data?

When CDR launches I expect to see a rolling start. I don’t expect a switch to flick on July 1st and CDR will be all functional and ready. But the success of CDR does require some early adopters, innovators and thought leaders to take the plunge and use the infrastructure. It’s the only way to improve, because it's not going to get better if no one uses it. 

That is a risk. Luckily in the UK, we work with companies who were willing to take that leap with us. I'm pretty optimistic that there will be companies in Australia who want to do this, don't want to give anyone an excuse to shut CDR down. It's up to all of us as an industry to say let's make this useful. And let's make it happen.

Founder of Tier One People and host of the Fintech Chatter Podcast.

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