Dmitrii Barbasura, Chief Executive Officer at Salt Edge spoke with Efma’s Boris Plantier about the company’s open banking journey and the inevitable transformation of the financial market.
What led to the creation of Salt Edge?
Today, you can go to any app market and choose from hundreds of personal financial management (PFM) apps, but the situation was different 10 years ago. There weren’t too many choices available back then. In 2011, I developed a PFM platform and faced a problem: all the expenses had to be input manually, creating a huge friction point for the end customer. Looking for solutions, I found a few providers offering services for aggregation of financial transactions, but they were available only in the US and cost a fortune. Upon determining this niche gap, I realized that it was time to act quickly and decided to make data aggregation accessible for the platform I developed and then for other companies and thus, Salt Edge had started its journey in the deep and vast sea of the fintech market.
The initial idea was to allow any business to get access to end customers’ data based on end customer consent in any bank worldwide via a single API call. With every step we go further and further, giving more detailed info, covering more countries and planning expansion into other markets like insurance and investments. As more countries follow the EU’s example in setting new regulations for the payments market, Salt Edge actively communicates with the regulatory bodies in different countries, consulting them and sharing the valuable experience of the open banking implementation. The combined expertise of Salt Edge’s specialists allows us to help businesses from different industries successfully join the open banking journey and find new ways to gain profits and benefit customers.
Could you present Salt Edge's offer?
It is very simple: Salt Edge is the bridge. Allow me to elaborate. An outburst of new, customer-oriented solutions is changing how people save, spend, and manage their money. The financial industry is evolving, as customers want easy solutions for shopping, renting apartments, applying for loans, investing money and donating it. Making all these activities efficient requires connection to banks or eWallets. And Salt Edge provides this “last mile” connectivity via unified API. We connect every player on the market: banks, businesses and end customers. So, we act as a bridge between a bank that holds accounts, a business that wants to access the bank on behalf of end customers in order to offer a service, and the end customers that want to receive solutions.
More importantly, we know the market from the inside, as we don’t just consume, we also build APIs. Salt Edge has two main vectors of activity: Open Banking Gateway enables businesses to gain access to bank accounts of their customers and PSD2 Compliance Solution is the technology necessary for banks and Wallets to become compliant with the PSD2 and open banking requirements.
A bit more on why businesses actually need our help - Salt Edge solves all the tech issues, allowing them to focus on improving user experience for their customers. Imagine being a bank needing to develop an API that different developers from different countries are able to access easily. It is not a simple task if your area of expertise has nothing to do with providing reliable API connectivity. And now think about companies that integrate with hundreds of APIs like this. In the EU alone there are 6,000+ banks. Registration and onboarding with each bank is really lengthy, requiring a great amount of work. So, we help banks and eWallets at one end and companies that want to connect to them at the other end. To date, Salt Edge has connected to over 5,800 banks in almost 70 countries for access to account information and payment initiation.
What's coming next for Salt Edge?
Technology changes the world every day, and Salt Edge is leading the change in the fintech sector. We are creating a global universal system that will allow customers to manage their finances with the lowest costs and the highest possible service availability. Salt Edge’s products are specifically designed to promote financial inclusion, as everyone should have the same tools for tracking and spending their money in the most efficient way. Through our solutions end customers from anywhere in the world would have an identical experience accessing and managing their accounts independent of their location. Think of it as a new normal: finance management without borders.
Wherever you are or even if you are moving from place to place, you have access to your transactions, can plan your budget and get loans based on your transaction history available from any country in the world. This is a new reality of payments - instant and safe transfer without exorbitant fees and with significantly reduced rate of mistakes and fraud. We are talking about global end customer identification via their personal and financial information available, in one click from any location on the planet. We are creating a market that did not exist before. Instead of competition, Salt Edge chooses collaboration with existing players. With the focus on transparency and safety, we are working towards a truly open finance market providing inclusivity and a quality experience for everyone. Through reduced costs for our clients and their end customers, Salt Edge promotes financial technology that is already available to us, and it is time to embrace the change.