Same but different… Real-life examples working with the Nordic Payment Services Directive (PSD2) interfaces
There has been a lot of talk about the complexity of the PSD2 APIs and lack of standardization. This is why I wanted to share real-life experiences working with banks’ PSD2 interfaces in the Nordics.
It is commonly known that even with Berlin Group as an implementation guideline, we cannot talk about a standard. Still the level of variation in banks’ PSD2 implementations might come as a surprise for institutions trying to build the connectivity directly with ASPSPs.
Here are some examples of those differences.
Data content and presentation
Data content and presentation differ from one bank to the next. For example, dates, such as booking date are basically in different formats in all implementations. Another example is amounts (of money) which, in some implementations, are defined as String, and in others as numeric with a list of variations (long, Long, BigDecimal..)
Some banks have a product included in the account, but it is a literal (Savings Account) and with the bank's local language. This is difficult to map into the user's language (Swedish, Finnish, etc.). Regarding naming, there is even more variation. A very conventional thing, such as "available balance", comes with as many variations as there are implementations (availableBalance, amountAvailable, BalanceAmount.amount.. you name it!).
Strong customer authentication (SCA), consent handling
Another huge topic, still largely unsolved is the SCA process and consent handling. Depending on the market, there are some common SCA implementations available but clearly not because the standard exists but more because it is the way of implementing these processes. In other markets these processes will be 100% bank specific.
So far, working with changing APIs has been a challenge. Keeping the sandbox alive has required a lot of work. Now when PSD2 comes into effect (or actually 6 months before that) the situation will stabilize slightly because banks will be forced to publish sandbox 6 months prior to going live with a new version.
However, when the number of connections will be at least tenfold compared to what’s currently available, securing a working access for a TPP in a market like the Nordics will require lots of resources also going forward.
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