As a small business owner, you know by now that cash is king! Getting a good grip on your cash flow is so important for small businesses owners and freelancers, because the survival of your business depends on it.

With recent news that inflation has risen above 10%, the soaring cost of energy, and the cost of living in general, times are tough for small businesses. 

One of the key things that businesses can do to get a grip on their cash flow is to offer multiple payment methods to their customers. If it’s easier to pay, customers are more likely to pay you quicker, meaning you get your money faster – simple!

Everyone will have their own preferences, but generally payment methods that are simple, easy and quick to complete will be more appealing. 

Open Banking offers new opportunities for businesses to provide another payment option for their customers. But what is Open Banking and how can it help improve your cash flow? Keep reading to find out more.

What is Open Banking?

Open Banking allows banks to share data with regulated third-party service providers. Data is shared via highly secure application programming interfaces (APIs).

It can improve your business’ financial tools and cash flow by allowing you to offer your customers another safe and secure method of payment that they can complete easily.

Developments in Open Banking came through innovation in the financial services sector, to create better products and experiences for businesses and consumers.

How does Open Banking work?

The technology works by sharing data through APIs. 

APIs are a way for one piece of software to communicate with other software and safely exchange information.

For transactions that take place via Open Banking, banks give third-party service providers  access to customers’ personal and financial data. Customers give consent for the bank to do this, usually via a verification process using the bank’s mobile app. Once the customer gives consent, the API of the third-party provider can then use the customer’s shared data to complete the transaction. 

The transaction works in the same way as a bank transfer, with the funds being transferred from the customer’s account to the vendor’s account. But the main difference with Open Banking is that the customer doesn’t have to get the vendor’s bank details, manually enter them in their banking app and then eventually pay. They can simply pay via the click of a button!

How safe is Open Banking?

Open Banking is incredibly secure – it offers the same level of security as online banking. 

The API endpoints have been built by the banks themselves, and been put through extensive testing by both the banks and a number of authorised and regulated third-parties.

As you would expect, it is also heavily regulated in a similar way to banking. 

In the UK, Open Banking is guided by the Open Banking Standard (OBS) – a framework published by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE).

The OBIE is a company that was established by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to oversee the implementation of the Open Banking Standard. 

Open Banking in the UK is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Open Banking

Instant Bank Payments by Clear Books 

Clear Books has recently launched Instant Bank Payments, our new feature to help customers get paid faster.

Powered by Open Banking technology, Instant Bank Payments helps businesses get paid quicker by making it easier for their customers to pay them directly via bank transfer. 

Instant Bank Payments allows Clear Books users to enable their customers to pay them quickly and easily, directly from a button on their invoices. From here, customers only need to complete three simple steps:

  1. Select the bank to pay from
  2. Securely authorise with their bank, using their own mobile banking app or online banking
  3. Confirm payment

Instant Bank Payments is a safe and secure method of payment made possible via Open Banking infrastructure provided by Plaid. Making a payment through Instant Bank Payments offers the same level of security and protection as making a bank transfer directly through your bank.

Start a free trial today to see just how easy it is to use!

Clear Books Online Accounting Software

Clear Books is an award-winning online accounting software for small businesses. Thousands of business owners, contractors, freelancers and sole traders across the UK use our easy-to-use online accounting software to manage their business finances. All users benefit from the outstanding free telephone and email support. Clear Books was launched in London in 2008 and offers a free 30 day trial with free ongoing support and bank feeds. We’re rated as ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot.

Get a free 30-day trial of Clear Books online accounting software here.

Posted by Clear Books