writer image

Sylvia Hölscher

Experienced in business development and sales. 5+ years working in the tech industry with a focus on FinTech, RegTech and anti-money laundering.

We’ve launched Streams – and we’re ready to show the world! In this webinar, our super-sharks Sylvia Hölscher and Maria Stanisic will show you how to wield the power of open banking, with absolutely no tech skills and zero integration. Streams is a self-serve platform for any business, big or small, that wants to accept modern payments, get customer bank account insights or even payout with no technical hassle. Streams is here.

This is a recording of our webinar “Streams – How to utilize open banking with zero integration or coding” which was broadcasted on the 27th of October 2022. If you want to participate live and also get the chance to ask questions in our Q&A subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn. Q&As are not available for non-live viewers. 


Hello everyone, and a warm welcome to today’s webinar on the topic Streams. I’m so glad you joined us today and I’m really excited for what we have to share with you. My name is Sylvia Hölsher and I’m the sales manager here at Finshark. In my everyday work, I talk with companies from all over Europe that are interested in understanding more about open banking and how it might benefit their business. Most of them have specific needs or requirements, but what we see is that all of them face similar challenges. We think, however, that is coming to an end. This recording will be shared on our LinkedIn on our site, so please do follow us there. It’s part of a series of monthly episodes, so if you happen to miss our last ones, please have a look there as well. My colleague Linus will be keeping an eye on the chat, so make him happy. Say hello, say you’re here, tell us if you can hear us. Most importantly, make sure you have your morning coffee. I know I have mine. And speaking of colleagues, my colleague Maria will be handling the second part of this webinar. And without giving way too much, a little hint, she’ll be talking about something that we will be discussing here and she’ll actually take you through it.[01:24] So, yeah, before we get started, I really wanted to give you a brief overview of Finshark and who we are as open banking provider. Currently, we have over 40 dedicated people working with open banking. We are a licensed provider operational in eight different countries, focusing on the Nordic market, but also starting to set foot in the rest of the EU mainland. At the bottom of everything we will talk about today is really our infrastructure. It’s our own platform that on the one side consists of roughly 250 integrated banks within the Nordics and on the other side, a suite of our solutions and our products built on top of these rails to the banks, it’s 250 integrated Nordic banks. And through our connections, we’re able to provide solutions within payments, within real-time data. And all of this is really made possible through our open banking propriety platform that we’ve been building since 2019. So looking into this area, it’s really important to choose a reliable and stable technology partner that not only knows what they’re doing, since open banking is still a very new territory, still a very new technology, but that’s also flexible and adaptable. So it’s important that you choose a partner that’s really specialized in this area and that can work together with you to enable your ideas. And before we get into the topic, I just wanted to mention some of our clients, fantastic customers that we are so happy to be able to work with. The interesting part here and why I want to kind of show you an example of our customers is really to showcase the differences in verticals, the industry, the size, and how open banking can really be used in different types of businesses. And also to showcase how different industries have embraced the technology that they’re using to make their customers happy and to really have an impact on their bottom line.[03:32] So before we can talk more about Streams and get into detail, I just really wanted to go through what open banking is for those of you that are not that familiar with it, a little quote: “open banking is the process of enabling third-party financial service providers to access consumer banking information such as transactions and payment history.” So, yeah, starting from the beginning, open banking is really a PSD2 EU directive that forces banks to open up their data, on behalf of the end customer, to licensed institutions such as Finshark. This gives the users control over their own data and empowers them to access new and innovative innovations and services. As a next step, I wanted to talk about three cornerstones that really make this possible. So based on PSD2, and on that, banks are forced to open up their data, hence open banking. This gives end user more power over their own data and the financial freedom while opening up for new innovations in the space. Like I already mentioned. In parallel with this, we have the technical reality, which is really rapidly changing with the introduction and adoption of e-commerce, highspeed Internet, smartphones, Internet of things, online payments, online banking, and yeah, companies and individuals demands are certainly changing. There’s new and innovative businesses that are meeting this demand even within the banking scene. So this has really opened up for an increase in innovation not only within the fintech space, but really in every industry. So in the end, none of this would have mattered if the consumers or end users weren’t ready for it. But we are seeing that they are. And they have a very high demand for how they want their services and products, especially in the Nordics. They’re ready for better financial experiences and services. And for most people, the consumer demand and the fintech services are really easy to understand. We’ve seen the release and adoption of fintech services like Swish, like MobilePay. Banks are abandoning their offices and switching over to apps and digital services. Big players like Apple and Google are pushing the implementation worldwide. But the EU legislation is still a bit cloudy or even unknown to some.

[06.09] So, without further ado, I wanted to talk about just that. So PSD2. On the one side we have AIS. On the other side we have PIS. I’m not going to go into the details here, but financial institutions like Finshark can get two licenses based on the PSD2 legislation. It’s Account Information Services. That stands for AIS. And Payment Initiation Services. That stands for PIS. Finshark has both. We are licensed by the Swedish FSA, the Financial Supervisory Authority. This means that we’re able to handle both payments and account information data. So what does this actually mean for my business? So, in short, it means that your business can now enjoy financial services that have previously only been exclusive to the banks or only possible with a large margin of errors. So instead of asking your customer for their salary, for example, you can now access their bank accounts to see that type of information. So instead of, for example, sending invoices via mail, you can ask customers to pay directly in your app, in your website, whatever channel that your customers already using without them having to leave your interface, your channel. Let’s take a closer look. On the one hand, like I mentioned, we have data. On the other hand, we have payments. So let’s start with payments, account-to-account payments. What is it and how does it work? In its essence, an account-to-account payment is quite simple, not unlike a regular bank transfer. But again, with open banking, these are not exclusive to banks. With open banking, anyone can initiate a payment together with a payment provider or initiator like Finshark. In our payment flow, we also authenticate any payment with strong authentication like BankID or like MitID, and the customer selects what accounts they like to initiate a payment from. This completely removes any doubts or any possible human errors that can arise. There’s no copy pasting of account numbers, no jumping between apps. Everything is done from browser or from a mobile phone and really without having to leave your interface, your website, your app, whatever your channel is that you want to interact with your customers. It happens there.

[08:49] And let’s talk a little bit about card payments. And if we compare account-to-account payments with card payments, what are the schematics with card payments and how does it differ from open banking payments? So first of all, as you can see, there are way more steps in a card payment for your business. This means that on the one hand, you have great coverage. Cards can be used all over the world. This is one of the strongest use cases for cards. On the other hand, however, you have higher costs because there are more middlemen that are required in this process. There are greater risks, more services can be hijacked, they can be unresponsive, and there’s built-in churn. Cards have an expiry date. So if you work with a subscription model, you know what this really means. And let’s go over and look at some of the fees. As a matter of fact, account-to-account payments tend to be half the cost of a card payment and in some cases considerably lower. And this is primarily due to the fact that we have eliminated many of the middlemen, many of the intermediaries, and it’s just a much smoother flow that goes through a lot fewer hands and it handles different types of payments. In this case, we’re going to show ho it kind of works with recurring payments. Just as uncomplex, but with the addition of a recurring withdrawal so you can choose whatever interval you wish. In Sweden, this is extremely sought after as the most common recurring payment today. If you’re Swedish, you know. Although Autogiro is outdated tech and it’s currently being removed from the market, so alternatives are in very high demand. You can combine different types of payments with each other. In this case, maybe you want to combine a direct payment with a recurring payment. It’s especially interesting for businesses that work a lot with Upselling. It could be an insurance with a recurring payment. You might have bought it with a camera or a TV, and you want to add a package to it. You can add that with paying with a direct payment for that insurance fee and then have recurring payment for the rest. Or it could be a starter package with training equipment for the direct payment and a gym membership for recurring. Going on, as you can see, the arrow goes both ways.

[11:29] So this is kind of showing how open banking allows Payouts, another one of our payment products. It’s never been easier for merchants, the end user, to use Payouts through our authorization flow, and merchants approves or declines it in their own platform, no bank on file, no waiting times, and no risk for fraud or human error. So that was a brief rundown of some of our payment products and how they can be used. Moving on to account information. In this case data, AIS, Account Information Services let’s see what we can do there. On the one hand, we have Data products. If payments didn’t seem like anything new, account information definitely should. Much of this information has previously been for the bank’s eyes only. Now that we’ve opened up customer data, they have more control and can access their own data. If they’re willing to share that information with us, we can use it to give better insights to businesses and services than they already use. Here are a few examples of our most popular products in this portfolio. On the one hand, we have Income Verification, and this assesses the customers income activities and checks their affordability. Account Checks instantly verify the ownership of any bank account in Europe. Loan Insights fully scan and monitor your customers financial obligations. And then we have Risk Analysis, which is based on a propriety risk transaction monitoring engine which is perfect for KYC or your customer and has inbuilt, as the name implies, AML antimoney laundering mechanisms. So at the bottom of all of this, which is really what all of these products are built on, is the raw data, the data that we aggregate from private or business accounts. That’s a brief overview of the data products. Let’s go into the most interesting part, which is the challenge.

[13:42] Is open banking really deliveringor is it just promising the moon and the stars and the sun? What about obstacles and challenges? Well, there are some challenges and obstacles to beat. Most of them are technical. Why I say that, let’s break it down. So, open banking, like I mentioned in the the beginning, is built on integrations, integrations and more integrations. You have to have your license in place testing SCA, which is strong customer authentication, bank integrations, again fronting users, and it really is very many components that you have to think about simultaneously. So Finshark already handles a lot of the technical, the heavy lifting. We have our license. We are allowed to integrate with the banks. We’ve created the payment flow with built in SCA authentication, and we’re testing it with every bank and every device. Even still, there’s normally some things that needs to be developed on your side. So given that we’ve done all the heavy lifting work, you still need to provide upfront towards the customers, an e-commerce checkout or user login. And you need to integrate with our payment flow on your platform. Now, trust me when I say that we know that we’re doing everything that we can to make your integration as smooth as possible. We have great API documentation, startup sessions, and ongoing support available in our Slack channels. There are still challenges. Why are there challenges and how can we mitigate them? So if you are, let’s say, a smaller business that might not have those aforementioned components, you might not have a robust technical team that are able to work with integrations, you might not have the time to work with projects like these, and you might just not have the knowledge or the know how to how you might go about it. And if you recognize yourself in this, then you’ll be happy to know that we’ve invented something that we hope can help you. And this is our platform, our no code, no integration, first ever of its kind, open banking platform, UI interface, which is called Streams.

[16:12] What is Streams? So Streams is basically taking everything I talked about previously and putting it into a simple, easy-to-use interface that you access through a login, you access to log in, and you have access to all of the heavy lifting work we did without an integration. It handles account-to-account payments, what we already discussed, that can include one-time payments, recurring payments, payouts, payment schedules, you name it. On the other hand, it has the data side. So account information? Account information, sorry, Account verification, risk assessment, loans, income verifications, bank data. So everything that I really discussed in the data side as well, you’ll find it there. It’s all accessible in one simple, easy platform. And how does it work? This is where it gets exciting. And this is where I say, thank you for listening to me, and I’ll hand it over to Maria, who knows Streams better than anyone else.

[17:16] Thank you, Sylvia, for the introduction. Open banking is really for everyone. And through Streams, we hope to give more companies the possibility to take the next step of modern payments and insights. I’ll now take you through Streams to give you an idea of how it can be used. Let’s look at how to set up a payment. Users can set up and monitor payments through Streams. These can be single, recurring or multiple payments. All payments are based on socalled templates. Templates contains all the details required for the transaction to be made. Setting up a onetime payment is easy. Create a template from scratch by clicking Create Template. Give the template a recognizable name. The name is how you later identify the payment template. Enter the amount you want to debit and what account you want the money on. This field takes the international format IBAN. This is not mandatory but can be used i you want the customer to approve the payment beforehand. I will leave this blank for now. The template also allows you to attach references to the payment that will be visible on your account as well as your customers account. Use the references feature to make the transaction easy to identify. I will input the name of the product I have sold and our company name. Note that some banks only present the twelve first letters in your message. When I’m done, I simply hit Create Template and as you can see, the template appears in my list and is now available for payments request.

[18:54] So now we can go ahead and request an actual payment. Tap Request Payment in the left hand side menu. From here, you are faced with two options, auto generate payments request or manually generate payment request. In this case we will choose the manually generate payment request. We will then be able to send a payment through one of our built-in channels SMS or Email. You can also copy the link. This is for the autogenerate option and send it manual to the customer. This option is if you would like to customize your message or use a different channel. I will send this payment via SMS. Here I can see my newly created template and hit Continue. Enter details and hit Send and the payment is sent. So what about the client on the receiving end? Whichever method is selected, email or SMS, the customer gets a link. In this case we will showcase how it looks when a customer receives SMS. Within the SMS there is a link. Once the customer clicks on the link it will open up Finshark payment flow. First you select your bank. You enter your personal number and then confirm with a strong customer authentication like BankID, MitID or bank login credentials. Once this is done, you choose from which account you would like to make the payment from and then authenticate once again. And then it’s done.

[20:30] It is an intuitive and easy-to-use experience. It’s all based on the browser and no account or additional apps are required. Only a bank account. Back in Streams, we are going to take a look at the status of the payment we requested. Selecting Overview in the menu takes us to this table of active payments. I have onl made three payment requests. One is completed and paid in full. One is sent to the customer but not yet completed, and the last one is sent to the client who has authorized the payment, but the payment date has not yet arrived. With this status, I can rest assured and update my books or my book keepers. Now, let’s talk data insights. This is a powerful set of open banking tools available for you without a single line of code. When we set up your account for the first time, we help you select what modules will be relevant for your business. For example, as a landlord renting apartments, it is important to know that the tenant can afford the apartments they rent. A common practice is to ask soon to be tenants for income verifications, often sent as digital pay slips in PDF formats. With open banking, that changes as we get full access to an authorized account and see the income in the accounts. With Streams, it is easy as it gets.

[21:57] So let’s create a report for a tenant. In this case, we will select Manually generate report. We will fill in all the information for the client, such as name, phone number and personal number. Once you create the report, the client will receive in this case an SMS where they enter flows. When the customer has made the authorization, you will be able to access the client’s report. When you open up the report, we have several modules represented. For this example, we are going to take a look at Income verification. Under this module you have more detailed information regarding the client’s income. For example, we can see the average monthly income for this client. We can also see the main source of income. We also have some general information such as how many months these clients have been receiving this income. When was the last payout they had? Is this income regularly and is it stable? You will have full insights into your clients income and you can immediately take action on the information and minimize the manual work. Income verification removes any kind of uncertainty when it comes to your clients income. Let us now look at Data insights for lenders. We would say that for lenders, data insights are the key to success. What are the risks of lending a certain individual money? How likely is it that the loan will be paid back in full with interest? These are all questions that are important and impossible to answer without insights into the person’s bank account. Luckily, with open banking technique it’s possible, and with Streams it’s possible without any integration or tech skills.

[23:58] Let us create a report to review the customers data. For this example, I will choose auto generate report. This function will provide you a link which you can embed on your website or app and once the customer interacts with it, it access Finsharks Flow. After a customer has finished the authorization, a report has been created. You simply go to reports on the left-hand side menu and we can now view the customer’s data. It might be interesting to look at several modules to get the complete insights of the customer’s economic situation, such as income, loan and risk. Let us start with income. Income is an important part when making credit decisions. It is important to know what type of income the customer has, whenever it is consistent and how much they have in income. When we are looking and analyzing the module loan, we want to see how many loan does this customer have? Should we grant them more loan if we evaluate in comparison with their income, when was the last time they took a loan? This information will help us to see if the customer is overextended and if we should grant them more loans. We can also here see what type of loan the customer has. Is it consumer loans, student loans and credit cards? For example. Whenever you’re doing a credit analyze, it is important to look at the risk of granting the customer a loan or a credit. Our risk module can help you get more details on the customer’s risk behavior, such as debt collection, or if the customer has a gambling behavior and in which extent. All of these three modules: income, loan and risk can help lenders to have more insights to their customers and minimize the risk of not having the loans paid back.

[26:12] That’s it for today’s webinar. If you would like to hear more about Streams and how it can be used for your business, please contact us and we will schedule a meeting. I wish you all a pleasant day. Thank you.