Leading the Way of Open Banking

  • Rafa Plantier, Head of UK & Ireland, Tink

  • 16.04.2021 08:04 am

An interview with Rafa Plantier, Head of UK & Ireland at open banking platform Tink.

Financial IT: Can you please tell us more about your background? What’s the story behind the founding of Tink?

Rafa Plantier (RP): From the start in 2012, our founders Daniel Kjellén (CEO) and Fredrik Hedberg (CTO) set out to transform the world of finance and change the banking industry for the better. They knew that by opening up access to financial data and helping our customers to go from analogue to digital, Tink could reshape the future of finance. By offering everyone access to our technology platform, we set out to help financial institutions build better financial services for their customers. This ambition remains at the heart of everything we do.

Financial IT: What is unique about Tink and how does the company stand out among its competitors?

RP: Open banking has gathered a lot of pace as a movement and is bringing benefits to businesses big and small, by making it easier for their customers to connect their bank accounts, manage their money and make payments. Since its launch in 2012, Tink has trailblazed open banking in Europe — becoming Europe’s leading open banking platform — and now connects to more than 3,400 banks that reach over 250 million bank customers across 18 European countries.

Tink’s open banking platform enables banks, fintechs and startups across Europe to build a new generation of data-driven financial services. We are the only player in the market to offer the full suite of open banking solutions — account aggregation, account check, data enrichment, payment initiation and personal finance management. All of this is offered through one single API.

Financial IT: In very general terms, what are the geographical markets that are most important to you? In relation to the businesses that are your customers, what are the most important industry verticals?

RP: Our focus is on enabling our customers to expand and enhance their services across the continent. To do this, we are continuing to expand our footprint and grow our reach and connectivity across Europe. We have a proven track record with large, pan-European, often tech-driven companies who have high demands in terms of servicing and relationship management. Examples of clients are BNP Paribas, NatWest, PayPal, Lydia and Enel X. We can add value to these clients by helping them grow, and in turn, the volume of data and payments going through our platform grows, helping us to refine and strengthen our services.

Financial IT: How are fintech and bank partnerships shaping the future of banking?

RP: Over the last few years, the tension that existed between financial institutions and fintechs has gradually evolved into collaboration and innovation.

From a business perspective, the advantages of partnerships between financial institutions and fintechs go both ways. For big banks, access to emerging technology and innovative new ways of working could help boost their competitive edge and swiftly meet changing consumer needs. Meanwhile, for fintechs, partnering with large financial institutions can support their own growth ambitions — opening up access to finance and a pool of potential customers that could far outstrip what they could build alone.

Over the last year, we have been extremely excited to see a significant rise in the number of financial institutions embracing partnerships with fintechs. In fact, our 2020 research showed 69% of financial institutions indicated that establishing a partnership is a priority for them over the next 12 months. At Tink, we hope to see this trend continue over the coming year as the industry continues to pull together to solve new challenges brought about by Covid-19.

Financial IT: What's next for Tink? 

RP: In December 2020, Tink announced it had closed the year with a completed €85 million investment round extension, following its €90 million investment round in January. This brought the total invested in Tink during 2020 to €175 million. Looking ahead, this funding will fuel our continued expansion across Europe and support the further development of our payment initiation technology — enabling companies of all shapes and sizes to integrate streamlined, low-cost payment solutions.

While open banking is still in its infancy, the industry is also turning towards open finance — what we choose to call ‘a new world of finance’. Our mission is to power this new world of finance for a new generation of bankers and consumers — making financial data easily accessible, programmable, understandable and valuable to anyone, anywhere. We are investing in new opportunities and strategic partnerships that allow us to enhance our offering; constantly pushing boundaries and exploring new frontiers with our technology and pioneering innovative new use cases that go beyond open banking.

Rafa Plantier is Country Manager for the UK and Ireland at Tink. Over the past 15 years, Rafa gained significant merchant acquiring experience with roles at Citi, and more recently, as head of EMEA banking at Stripe. Rafa now leads Tink’s ambition to equip financial institutions and fintechs with best-in-class technology solutions that will allow the UK and Ireland to continue to lead the way as pioneers of open banking.

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