Open Banking Hackathon

3 June 2016: Matt Cox, Nationwide’s Head of Insight & Innovation, shares his experience from Nationwide’s recent Open Banking Hackathon.

  • 5 teams of Nationwide and Vodafone employees
  • 48 hours of creative collaboration
  • 25 pizzas consumed
  • Result? 5 cutting edge prototype apps

Let’s make one thing clear – a “hackathon” has nothing to do with criminals breaking into a websites or testing security. A hackathon is an event where experts come together to brainstorm new prototypes in an intensive session often lasting several days. It provides the perfect atmosphere to explore new possibilities and to be as creative as possible.

So why did we hold a hackathon? Later this year the UK will complete the implementation of an EU directive which requires banks to share their customers’ data with anyone who holds the required licence. At first this will only involve low levels of data such as ATM locations and product information, but within the space of a few years we may be able to open up a whole host of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to multiple aggregators and digital innovators.

We wanted to explore what possibilities this opened up, and in what ways this increased availability of APIs could be used to benefit our members. For this, we invited representatives from Vodafone to get as wide a perspective as possible. We gave five mixed teams of five Nationwide and Vodafone employees a mere 48 hours to explore what they could be done with APIs. How could this opportunity provide an even more immersive and personalised experience for our members?

Imagine an app which knows your favourite shops and automatically offers you vouchers and deals at these outlets – then keeps a track of how much you’ve saved from these vouchers. Or an app which can tap into your key life moments (such as getting engaged), automatically recognise these, and offer personalised financial advice for those moments that matter. These are just two of the very prototypes our teams came up with.

Our winning app, DOSH, combined exceptional use of APIs with striking design and slick user experience. Instead of listing your transaction history chronologically like a normal mobile banking app, DOSH groups transactions together by organisation with your favourites on top. No more having to scroll down forever to check previous transactions. Over time DOSH then learns from your social media what interests you and adapts to make your banking experience ever more convenient. What’s more, DOSH has an intuitive predictive search function to help you find specific transactions or payees with utter ease.

I was immensely proud watching the teams at work, bouncing ideas off each other and working late into the night. You could sense the excitement as they raced against the clock to develop the most innovative and immersive apps. It may be some time before the Open Banking directive comes into full effect, but we’re already looking into how some aspects of these prototypes could be embedded into our Mobile App. It’s an exciting time to be working in Nationwide’s Innovation Lab and I look forward to sharing more developments with you.

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