The Hub May 2019 – industry presentations

31 May 2019

Our guest speakers at the launch event for our API Centre at The Hub May 2019 covered a wide range of perspectives on the topics of open API standards, open banking, and open data. Industry speakers followed the Minister’s address and below is an overview of their presentations.

Datacom presentation: Our API journey so far

Datacom Business Manager for Payments and Messaging, Darryl Roots, gave a high level overview of Datacom’s open API standards journey so far. He touched on Real Time Debit, a new service by Datacom which offers a way of making online payments without using a credit or debit card.

Over 50 councils in New Zealand use Datacom’s local government products and services, powered by Real Time Debit technology. In total, Datacom processed 93,000 digital transactions per month for these councils, including online bookings, building consents, inspections, licenses and payments.

From launching Real Time Debit, Darryl said the company learned that secure and robust infrastructure is key to building innovation that can deliver a good consumer experience. He also spoke of the need for banks to be there for merchants from day one, and the importance of industry collaboration when developing and deploying API standards.


Westpac presentation: The three transitions required to build an open banking marketplace

Westpac Director of Open Banking, Matt Haigh, spoke about what changes are required within the industry if open banking in New Zealand is to succeed. He talked about the big potential of open banking and open APIs for customers, businesses and governments. Banks needed to think of it as a major digital transformation, and make changes accordingly to their policy, processes and operating models.

It will take some time before customers see API-enabled products and services in market, Matt said. Before that, API providers such as Westpac and third party organisations need to arrive at commercial agreements. Banks will then have to work with third parties on testing, deployment and support of these new features and products.

Lastly, Matt spoke about the need to educate customers about their relationship with their own banking data. Customers own their data, and their wishes should be respected at all times. Banks have a “duty of care” when it comes to helping manage this customer data. For them, the integrity and safety of customer information should be the foremost consideration when making decisions about open banking.


Choice presentation: Paying with purpose

Choice Co-founder, Ossie Amir, opened by talking about the need for a more equitable payments system for Kiwis. Choice is a Wellington-based startup that aims to make the payments system more “purpose driven”, by using a Robin Hood-style operating model that redistributes some of the cost of making a payment back to the local communities that need it the most.

The new model they came up with, said Ossie, is one in which “all boats rise”. Choice is a contactless payments platform that creates a secure, direct transactional network from user to merchant at point of sale. Merchants pay a flat rate to use Choice, with half of those fees then going to social causes.

As one of the first organisations to join the API Centre as a registered API third party Standards User, Choice believes that the centre’s standards can be world leading. But that would require a clear pathway for new entrants. The industry also needed to agree on a set of values to protect our fledgling open data economy and API-enabled ecosystem, said Ossie.

Ossie concluded by saying Choice was a small fintech trying to build a principles-based solution for Kiwis. It’s business on “hard mode” and not for everyone, he said, but the potential outcome is what keeps them going.


Deloitte Australia presentation: Making the invisible visible

Deloitte Australia’s Director of Platform Engineering, Vinod Ralh, kicked off his presentation by sharing stories about the vulnerable and disenfranchised in society. He then used the stories to illustrate the emerging opportunities for the financial services sector to make a positive impact on social issues.

Vinod spoke about the power of open banking platforms and open data, and how they can be used to improve the lives of people from all walks of life. If we reframe social issues such as poverty, unemployment and social exclusion into what is needed to provide people with the essentials of life, open banking platforms can be used to start helping lift up people and communities.

These platforms can be used to give people such as the unbanked access to financial services. Their data, with their consent, can also be shared between social agencies to determine what wrap-around social services should be provided and when to offer them.


To read about our Chief Executive Steve Wiggins' presentation and the Minister’s address at the event, see our article API Centre open for business. Also check out the gallery of photos from the day.