First Direct yearns to be markteplace king with artha pilot
First Direct is joining in the open banking fun with its new business model offering integrated financial services products and tools from across the market.
Announced last year, the six-month artha pilot forms a key part of HSBC UK’s open banking strategy. (First Direct is part of HSBC.)
HSBC says the trial will include 2,000 of its customers and double that number of non-customers. It officially started in December.
According to UK-based web and mobile app Bud, who is helping out, it’s the “first time a large financial institution in the UK has made third party products available for the benefit of customers”.
Joe Gordon, head of First Direct, says: “More and more customers are putting value on service and experiences not just products, and as such they want companies that focus on this.”
Using Bud’s technology, the artha app allows users to bring bank accounts from the UK’s largest banks together in one place and categorise their spending data.
Based on the categorised data the app can then analyse people’s needs to help them to find relevant financial products. For example, if the app saw that someone was paying a disproportionate amount for electricity, it could introduce them to utility switching services.
The “marketplace” will initially contain a range of products and services from a variety of different providers, covering areas including utility switching, investments and credit cards. Some of the providers included in the pilot include American Express, Nutmeg, Wealthify, MoneyFarm and Flipper.
In addition, a “lists” feature allows users to manually manage lists of transactions which can be shared with other users of the app (e.g. two people contributing to a shared budget), and a “targets” feature allows users to set saving and spending goals.
Bud says it is going live on the app store next week, and will be sharing progress as things develop.
Helpfully, Bud explains that artha is a Sanskrit word which describes the Hindu concept of the “means of life” and covers areas like the pursuit of material wealth, health and prosperity.
So perhaps the king artha pun in the headline was not a good idea.