CMA (UK Competition and Markets Authority) says YES!
Open APIs can transform the financial services sector. There is already a very active and growing FinTech community which has been developing and introducing new products using existing digital technology. Here are a couple of key points made by CMA in their paper "Making banks work harder for you."
31: Requiring the banks to adopt and maintain a common open standard will accelerate the pace of this change. Without our intervention, the process of developing open APIs cannot be guaranteed and could take a long time, with the effect of denying customers the early benefits of these new services. We are therefore also imposing a challenging, but realistic, timeframe on banks for this process.
32: The development and implementation of an open API standard for banking – our first foundation remedy – will permit authorised intermediaries to access information about bank services, prices and service quality and customer usage. This will enable new services to be delivered that are tailored to customers’ specific needs. The types of new and improved services that will result from this remedy include applications which:
Allow banking customers, through a single application, to manage accounts held with several providers.
Allow customers to authorise the movement of funds between current and deposit accounts to help avoid overdraft charges or to benefit from higher interest payments.
Let customers make simple, safe and reliable price and service quality comparisons tailored to their own usage patterns.
Monitor a current account and forecast a customer’s cash flow, helping to avoid overdraft charges.
Use a small business’s transaction history to allow a potential lender other than their bank to reliably assess the business’s creditworthiness and offer better lending deals than they would without this information.