National Bank of Kazakhstan prepares for the launch of Open Banking

Business news correspondent
Photo: Shutterstock, photo editor: Arthur Aleskerov

The Open Banking project, based on Open API, is set to start on July 1, 2024, according to Chair of the National Bank of Kazakhstan Timur Suleimenov, who held a press conference devoted to the lowering of the base rate.

«We launched the Open API and Switch pilot projects last year. I hope they will be fully operational starting from July 1. I am going to talk about them in our future press conferences,» Suleimenov said.

About the technology. Open Banking allows commercial banks to open access to their clients’ data to third parties if there is no objection from those clients.

Open Banking is based on Open API technology, which allows users to access banking accounts in different banks through one app.

The context. In 2023, the regulator launched the Open Banking pilot project tested by Bank RBK, Altyn Bank, Home Credit Bank, Bank CenterCredit and Otbasy Bank through the mobile apps of the first four banks. Despite some technical issues, the pilot project proved to be effective and was recommended for further scaling, the National Bank said in a statement.

Impact on the banks. Given that some Kazakhstani experts believe that Open API can be dangerous for banks and may lead to their closure, journalists asked Suleimenov whether the new technology would affect the banks.

«Banks will be able to compete with each other in a better way when there is a single app for various banks. People will decide which deposit is better and which bank is more convenient for utility payments on their own. One bank charges 100 tenge, another just 50 tenge, for example. You can decide on your own which one works better for you by reviewing different options in the app. Of course, this is good for competition and we should facilitate the development of this issue, which is what we’re doing,» the head of the National Bank said.

The official noted that the regulator is trying to expand the number of banks in Kazakhstan. He also emphasized that it is unlikely the development of Open API would lead to the extinction of banks. Digital technologies are just tools that help banks improve their work and become more efficient, Suleimenov highlighted.

«We need a national financial infrastructure that would take into account the interests of all banks, whether they are big, medium-sized or small. First of all, a system like this should serve the interests of a client, a citizen and a businessman. In this case, the government would have an opportunity to control this infrastructure and secure its monetary sovereignty. We are working on this,» the head of the National Bank explained.

Some experts Kursiv has talked with were quite skeptical about the Open Banking project.

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