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Same but different… Real-life examples working with the Nordic Payment Services Directive (PSD2) interfaces

Real-life examples working with the Nordic Payment Services Directive (PSD2) interfaces

Kaarle Honkamaa / January 15, 2019

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..)

Typing, naming

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.

Read further

Whitepaper: How to make the most out of open banking. Read more about how to establish connections to banks and other relevant data sources.

Blog post: The doors to open banking have been opened... And then what? Time for first learnings as a few banks now have their Open Banking platforms available in the Nordics.

Blog post: PSD2: Game changer or not? Some might say that PSD2 as such will not be a huge game changer. But in fact, the impact of PSD2 goes way beyond the mandated APIs towards open banking.

PSD2: how will it work in practice? Will PSD2 make a difference by opening up the competition and European-wide reach of banking services? Third Party Providers (TPPs) are the ones that should be benefiting from this change. Janne Hukkanen digs into how this looks from their perspective.

Tieto Open Banking Ecosystem. Embrace the opportunities created by open banking, transforming your business with innovative, agile and efficient solutions that strengthen customer relationships and increase revenue.


Kaarle Honkamaa
Head of Offering Development, Open Banking

Kaarle has almost 20 years of experience working with various industries in IT and product development. With 10 years in sales and business development roles in different industries and working with technology giants like Google, Sony and Samsung, Kaarle gained a good visibility over the transformation towards open apis and platforms. In Financial Services, Kaarle has been working with various areas, such as leading the development of omnichannel services and driving the Siirto eCommerce payments ecosystem initiative with representatives from 20+ companies.


Kaarle Honkamaa

Head of Offering Development, Open Banking

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