- Wishlist #1: auto-setup for bank feeds
- Wishlist #2: Payment requests sent directly from Xero to internet banking
- Wishlist #3: Free bank-to-bank payments
Cloud accounting company Xero has revealed its roadmap for closer integration with retail banking and asked for its supporters’ help in lobbying for change.
Xero launched a new page on its site “to help financial institutions understand what working with Xero means”, said Matt Vickers, product manager for mobile and banking integration, on Xero’s blog on Friday.
The Financial Institutions page sold Xero’s vision to banking executives. “Integration with accounting is the new benchmark for small business banking,” Xero claimed on the page, and listed a series of suggested financial services that could be accessed from within the accounting program.
The services included directly connected bank feeds (rather than supplied by third-party aggregators such as Yodlee) with automated set-up; loading payment requests directly from Xero into internet banking for authorisation and approval; and a payments platform called Xero Pay Now that relied on “standard internet banking bill payment services” rather than third-party payment providers.
Xero had taken pains to ensure that banks would not become an invisible enabler within accounting software. “We… have made sure your brand is prominent in Xero” for bank feeds, the blog said.
While Xero hoped that users could send payment requests directly to their bank, “Xero ensures banks control payment authorisation”, either through the online banking portal or by mobile using the financial institution’s existing products.
Banks that pioneered integrated services would create deeper connections with customers who would be “more likely to stay loyal, giving you the opportunity to cost effectively introduce these customers to new services”, Xero said.
Xero managing director for Australia Chris Ridd has met with Australian banks to promote its plans for software integrated services. But the company also appealed to its fans to lobby their banks directly.
“If you’re trying to convince your financial institution to supply data directly to Xero, or you’d like to see them support online account setup, please invite them to take a look at this page and to complete the contact form at the bottom,” Vickers wrote.
The latest development in Xero’s “Next Generation Banking” project was the ability to turn on bank feeds instantly from an online banking portal. Once a user had set up their bank accounts in Xero they could log into their online banking website, select the accounts which required bank feeds from an administration menu, and then be redirected automatically to Xero to connect the bank feeds.
The first feeds would arrive the following morning and, in a first for bank-feed technology, users could also import historical data.
ASB and TSB, two New Zealand banks, were the first financial institutions to offer the service. “We expect to be able to support from additional banks in the new year,” Vickers said.
ASB had posted more details on its own blog.
Image credit: Xero