Editor | 5 September 2018

FreeAgent to Offer Open Banking Services to Freelancers

Cloud accounting software provider FreeAgent has been given permission by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide Open Banking services to freelancers, contractors and other micro-business owners.

Open Banking is a new and secure way for small and medium-sized businesses to give providers access to their financial information.

It means that, with your permission, banks and other financial institutions will have to share your financial data with regulated apps and other online services.

Open Banking was first suggested by the Competition and Markets Authority, who want to introduce new and more innovative competition to the financial sector. Ultimately, it means that individuals and businesses will be able to access a whole range of new and better financial products and services.

An Open Banking app for individuals, for example, might analyse income and regular spending habits in your current account and use this information to help you plan a budget or put money aside to save.

For freelancers and other small businesses, Open Banking can help you view incomings and outgoings in one or several accounts, and get more of a grip on the business financials.

You can also make payments directly from your bank using approved software. Meaning that, although money will still be stored and secured in your bank accounts, you could start using  innovative third-party software as your business’s financial ‘hub’.

Open Banking services can only be offered by certain approved providers who comply with certain security features laid out in  PSD2 - new EU-wide legislation. These providers must be approved by the FCA or the FCA’s European equivalents.

FreeAgent is one of the first companies to achieve the required Account Information Services Provider (AISP) status and so will now launch their Open Banking strategy.

It is thought that the company will start to provide deeper bank integrations with its award-winning software, and enable users to access banking information more readily in a secure and compliant way.

Kevin McCallum, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at FreeAgent, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved our FCA registration as an Account Information Services Provider. The FCA rightly sets the quality bar fairly high for any business to become an AISP. We have always taken our security and data responsibilities very seriously, and our AISP status confirms that our internal systems and processes meet the highest standards.

“The integrated and seamless flow of information between banks, accountants and business owners is an integral part of the FreeAgent experience in the future. We believe that Open Banking is going to fundamentally change the way that businesses, accountants, software providers and banks share data - giving people a more secure, transparent understanding of their finances than ever before. It will allow us to build new services and customer-focused offerings that would simply not have been possible previously.

“It’s the start of a new era for fintech companies and it’s an exciting time for FreeAgent.”

To find out how FreeAgent software can benefit your small business, speak to a member of the team today. Call: 0808 281 0303.