The many sides of Open API adoption

Share this post

Open Banking is not just a trend but a transformative force, driving a sea change in how consumers and businesses interact with financial services. Central to this transformation are Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which serve as the bridge between financial institutions and third-party services. As we delve deeper into the realm of Open Banking, understanding the variations in API design and deployment becomes crucial. This post seeks to shed light on these variations and introduce two primary models that provide solutions: the “Many to Many” networks and the “National Switch” network.

The Importance of Open APIs in Open Banking

APIs act as connectors, allowing different software applications to communicate and share data seamlessly. In the context of Open Banking, these APIs play a pivotal role in enabling third-party providers to access customer data securely and offer innovative services. For instance, by leveraging open APIs, a utility company can partner with a bank to offer instant payments or even loyalty schemes. The possibilities are vast, but the road to harnessing them requires navigating the diverse landscape of API designs.

Differences in Adoption of Open APIs in Various Markets

While the European Open Banking model is still maturing, the global landscape paints a varied picture. Different markets adopt unique API standards, leading to discrepancies that can hinder the universal application of Open Banking services. These disparities arise from factors like varying regulations, market dynamics, and technological advancements in different regions.

Two Models – “Many to Many” Networks and “National Switch” Network

In the report “The Open Banking revolution needs flexible API connectivity” two primary strategies are highlighted, addressing the variation in API templates: the “Many to Many” networks and the “National Switch” network.

Exploring the “Many to Many” Networks Model

This model promotes the creation of an extensive network of APIs between banks and various third parties, such as telecommunication providers, utility companies, and retailers.

Under this setup, banks and third parties design a multitude of APIs, tailored to cater to a diverse range of digital services. From a user’s perspective, this means accessing services like balance inquiries, money transfers, and bill payments from within their chosen apps.

The “Many to Many” model has paved the way for instant payments, advanced credit scoring mechanisms, efficient refunds, and innovative subscription payment systems, amongst others.

For banks, this model offers increased touchpoints with customers, an expanded service portfolio, and potentially higher transaction volumes. Customers, on the other hand, enjoy the convenience of accessing a plethora of services from a single platform and the promise of tailored offerings based on their preferences.

Understanding the “National Switch” Network Model

A contrasting approach, the “National Switch” model or “Many to One”, hinges on centralisation.

In this setup, Central Banks in specific markets introduce a uniform platform with a standardised set of APIs. These APIs are then adapted for diverse use cases, ensuring consistency and streamlining the integration process.

Central Banks play a central role by establishing the foundational infrastructure. They ensure the system remains secure, efficient, and responsive to market needs.

The primary advantage is uniformity, which simplifies integration for third parties. This model also reduces potential friction points and ensures faster transaction processing. Consumers and businesses stand to benefit from real-time services like account-to-account payments, Variable Recurring Payments, and Request to Pay systems.


While the journey of Open Banking is lined with challenges, the two models – “Many to Many” and “National Switch” – offer effective solutions to the issue of API variations. As we reflect upon the future of Open Banking, it is evident that understanding and adopting the right model will be instrumental in shaping a seamless and customer-centric financial ecosystem.

If you’d like to know more about the possibilities that Open Banking brings, download our free report “The Open Banking revolution needs flexible API connectivity”.

Article by BPC

More To Explore


Are you a member of The Payments Association?

Member benefits include free tickets, discounts to more tickets, elevated brand visibility and more. Sign in to book tickets and find out more.


Log in to access complimentary passes or discounts and access exclusive content as part of your membership. An auto-login link will be sent directly to your email.

Having trouble signing?

We use an auto-login link to ensure optimum security for your members hub. Simply enter your professional work e-mail address into the input area and you’ll receive a link to directly access your account.

First things first

Have you set up your Member account yet? If not, click here to do so.

Still not receiving your auto-login link?

Instead of using passwords, we e-mail you a link to log in to the site. This allows us to automatically verify you and apply member benefits based on your e-mail domain name.

Please click the button below which relates to the issue you’re having.

I didn't receive an e-mail

Tip: Check your spam

Sometimes our e-mails end up in spam. Make sure to check your spam folder for e-mails from The Payments Association

Tip: Check “other” tabs

Most modern e-mail clients now separate e-mails into different tabs. For example, Outlook has an “Other” tab, and Gmail has tabs for different types of e-mails, such as promotional.

Tip: Click the link within 60 minutes

For security reasons the link will expire after 60 minutes. Try submitting the login form again and wait a few seconds for the e-mail to arrive.

Tip: Only click once

The link will only work one time – once it’s been clicked, the link won’t log you in again. Instead, you’ll need to go back to the login screen and generate a new link.

Tip: Delete old login e-mails

Make sure you’re clicking the link on the most recent e-mail that’s been sent to you. We recommend deleting the e-mail once you’ve clicked the link.

Tip: Check your security policies

Some security systems will automatically click on links in e-mails to check for phishing, malware, viruses and other malicious threats. If these have been clicked, it won’t work when you try to click on the link.

Need to change your e-mail address?

For security reasons, e-mail address changes can only be complete by your Member Engagement Manager. Please contact the team directly for further help.

Still got a question?