Credit reference agency LendingMetrics has launched an open banking platform to provide consumer bank account data free-of-charge to motor finance lenders and other credit providers.

Finance companies using the software, named OpenBankVision, will be able to conduct searches without paying a license fee or making any other financial commitment. Consumers confirm consent for read-only access to their bank accounts via the app oohMoolah, which then gives OpenBankVision a token to assess accounts in real time.

The token has a life, typically of three months, allowing credit providers to re-access
the real-time data. Neil Williams, managing director of LendingMetrics, said: “We’ve spent two years developing and testing OpenBankVision, and are now finally ready to go live with what is a best-in-class platform. After speaking with credit providers, and based on our long experience in this area, we know that it is what the market has been waiting for. And, unlike other providers, we will not be charging hefty set-up or monthly fees.”

Plans for OpenBankingVision were first announced to the public in December 2017. The programme filters data with categorisation tools before it is passed to users, automatically identifying salary payments, ongoing commitments and unusual activity, with the intention that rapid affordability and creditworthiness assessments can be made.

David Wylie, LendingMetrics director, said: “We plan to grow our coverage dramatically as a result of this ‘free forever’ approach. The more consumer bank accounts we have a token for, the more useful OpenBankVision will be to credit providers.”

OpenBankVision is targeted at a wide range of credit providers, including mortgage lenders, gambling organisations, automotive financiers and UK credit card providers. It is also intended to allow users to consider applicants with thin credit files and to confirm salary without the need to request income references or paper proof of income. The data may assist in approving applications which may otherwise have been declined, and identify potential problems including non-compliant loans.

LendingMetrics has been supplying bank transaction data to credit providers for the past six years via screen-scraping technology.

OpenBankVision is part of the Open Banking initiative of the Competition and Markets Authority. In November the CMA stated its concerns  that the proposed Experian ClearScore merger could ‘stifle product development and impact customers’ in the credit scoring sector.