Multibanking is gaining momentum among banks in Switzerland


Opening the ecosystem to third-party providers has been pursued only cautiously by banks in Switzerland. While all banks in the EU have been obligated since September 2019 to implement PSD2 to foster innovation, Switzerland has opted for voluntariness (a market-driven approach). To encourage progress in the Swiss banking landscape regarding open banking, the Federal Council, for the first time, exerted some pressure at the end of December 2022 – and the Swiss Banking Association (SBA) responded.

A memorandum of understanding

In May 2023, under the leadership of the SBA, approximately 40 banks in Switzerland signed a memorandum of understanding, a non-binding declaration aimed at implementing the first multi-banking offerings for private customers. Signatory banks included major banks such as UBS, Migros Bank, and PostFinance, six major cantonal banks, and several regional banks. All these banks will enable multi-banking offerings by providing the necessary data interfaces (open APIs). The banks agreed to start work in Q2 2023. Each can decide which rollout group it would like to be part of: they can be either “first movers” (in Q2 2024) or “fast followers” (no later than Q2 2025).

Multi-banking allows bank customers to manage accounts with multiple banks via a single platform. Technically speaking, it is an open banking use case in which APIs are used to merge data from different institutions efficiently. Functionalities include, for example, accessing information about account balances and transactions, submitting payments for approval, and directly triggering payment instructions from third-party accounts. This helps customers keep track of their finances and makes transactions faster and simpler to execute.

PAC’s opinion

First, the memorandum was an essential step as it will promote collaboration among the various stakeholders involved, including banks, tech companies, infrastructure providers, and FinTechs. That means multi-banking will be high on the agendas of financial institutions in Switzerland over the next two years.

Second, it will not only drive innovation but also the overall digital transformation of the industry in Switzerland. It will trigger further platform modernization initiatives, with open architectures that enable easy integration of third parties. For instance, in August 2023, Swiss IT provider ti&m announced that Baloise Bank (whose core system provider is Avaloq) would replace its existing online banking with ti&m’s digital banking engagement platform, which supports such an architecture.

Third, we believe that, instead of each bank individually connecting to third-party providers through their interfaces, banks will consider joining an open banking platform with centralized, standardized APIs, such as the open banking platform bLink (operated by SIX). During 2023, more than 10 Swiss banks and around 20 third-party providers are expected to be connected to the platform.

Download the full report on SITSI for further details, incl. PAC's recommendations for IT users and providers.

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