How to Use Open-Banking API with Card-Linked Offers
Imagine this scenario: a 20-something individual is scrolling through his Instagram feed one evening when he pauses to look at an ad for a new sneaker that’s “built for everyday adventures.” Even though he doesn’t love that this is a targeted ad, he does think the shoes look pretty cool and is intrigued to find out more.
So he clicks the “Learn More” banner at the bottom and is re-routed to the sneaker kickstarter website. As he begins perusing the site, a pop-up appears offering him 15% off his first order, should he decide to purchase the new sneakers that interrupted his scrolling back on Instagram. That 15% off coupon that popped up as soon as he went to the site is common practice among companies and apps today and is a simple example of something called loyalty marketing.
Loyalty marketing, which has formally been around since the 1990s, is where companies give incentives to both new and returning customers in order to persuade them to buy specific products or pay for certain services from that company. Another example of loyalty marketing is a store’s reward program where customers earn points for every purchase and later can use those points once they have added up to a certain amount in order to make additional purchases.
These kinds of methods help customers feel like they’re getting something for free, which can be a highly motivating experience and encourages them to keep coming back for more.
A Better Kind of Reward
One arm of loyalty marketing is card-linked offers. Instead of the rewards coming from making purchases at one specific place like in the example of the store reward program, card-linked offers reward consumers based on using a credit or debit card. Thus, simply by purchasing things with a specific card, rewards can be earned and accumulated at many different locations instead of just one. Many people are familiar with this concept since most major credit card companies run card-linked offers or offer cash-back rewards through their specific cards.
Financial application programming interfaces (or financial APIs) make the creation of card-linked offers a simple process compared to what it took in the past. Instead of using a payment network to create and maintain the relationship between CLOs, businesses, and financial institutions, financial APIs can establish these connections in a more secure and infinitely faster process. If you’re a business running CLOs, then financial APIs are the better option than traditional payment networks.
Since around 2015, an intriguing alternative has become increasingly prevalent, called open banking. In the past, consumers’ financial information was protected and controlled by the financial institution they were using. It was (and still is) a tedious process to share routing numbers and account information with anyone outside of the institution, and it had to be approved by the financial institution itself every time it was shared. While this may seem like a good thing in order to protect people’s assets and finances, it makes certain activities that involve a third party company or app extremely complicated and clunky.
Open banking is different because it gives bank account sharing control to the bank account owner – this means that the individual gives permission to and verifies who has access to their information instead of their bank managing those things. With open banking APIs, people can now allow third-party companies to have access to their personal financial information in a much easier way.
Open banking isn’t just an easier option for consumers; it’s actually a better option for third-party companies as well. Through open banking, consumers can give permission directly to a business to access data about them. When this happens, the consumer is granting access to not only the data that’s directly related to the business itself, but also infinitely more data connected to their spending habits in general across all platforms. Simply put, open banking allows businesses to have open access to infinitely more consumer financial data – all through simple web APIs.
Essentially, getting access to this information allows businesses to make more informed decisions about their products and services so that their consumers get what they want and need. These ideas lead us back to loyalty marketing – with more knowledge about the consumer, business and apps can create even better loyalty programs whether through CLOs or other means.
Making the Switch From CLO to Open Banking
So if you’re a consumer using open banking, you have full control and power over sharing your financial data. If you’re an app using open banking and your customers opt into it, then you have access to more of that customer’s financial data which gives you more insight into how to make your product and services more relevant and available.
Let’s say you’re currently a company that runs card-linked offers across a wide array of businesses and locations, and you’ve already established these connections with merchants either through traditional payment networks or financial APIs. Things have been going pretty well for your business, but recently there’s been a lull in both usage and increase of new customers, and you’re not sure why.
You have some data about your typical customer but realize that you could use more information about where their money is being spent if it’s not being spent through your platform. This is the kind of scenario where switching from CLO to an open banking format would be extremely helpful.
Benefits of Open Banking
Using an open banking format has many perks, maybe the most important being access to data. Instead of only getting information about transactions redeemed with your business like you do with traditional payment networks, open banking gives you access to data for every transaction made by that account user. And that data is available to you 24-7 instead of having to request it or only getting the data the payment network wants to share with you.
With access to person-specific data, your company can build even stronger personalization and relevant services for your current and future customers, and you won’t even have to store any personal card numbers or links yourself since everything is tokenized from the account users’ financial institutions.
In addition, with open banking, you don’t have to pay to integrate with each merchant, thus saving you a lot of money as you expand.
How to Get Started
With these incredible benefits in mind, are you ready to give it a try? The good news is that it’s a really simple process to explore what open banking can look like for your company and get things up and running.
In a nutshell, here are the steps:
- Get your free access to our sandbox by clicking on this link
- Once you’ve received an email with the instructions on how to connect to the sandbox, complete the interactive tutorial
- Integrate the free code samples into your own application
- Continue to complete user acceptance testing with the sandbox
- Access production data
When you’ve had a chance to play around with it and see how to integrate open banking into your platform, it’s time to get access to the real data. Reach out to us and we’ll provide you with access to the production system.
Once you do that and have your code up and running, you should be able to fetch the transaction data from the bank accounts linked to your app. Now you need to match the transactions with the offers that your users have redeemed. You can either develop a matching logic yourself, or offload that task to us as we have lots of experience with it.
If you have difficulties with running test transactions on your own with certain merchants, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us since there’s a good chance we have data from that same store already.
The Future is Open
Open banking creates more opportunities for businesses and consumers by establishing more effective competition, increasing innovation, and overall producing a better experience for everyone. Although open banking is still catching on in the US, other countries across the world have made this transition successfully, and it’s inevitable that more and more people will turn to this method in the months and years to come. And with so many benefits, it’s a win-win for everyone. Why not check it out today?