Open Banking in Bulgaria

Open banking in Bulgaria - Nordigen

In September 2019, PSD2 went live in the EEA.Bulgaria is on its way to becoming a leading fintech technology hub in southeast Europeand their banks already offer open banking.
 

What is Open Banking and PSD2?

Open banking is banking practice that securely shares financial information such as consumer banking, transactions and other financial data to third-party financial service providers (Estevez, 2020). Sharing data is done through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) and only with the consent of customers (The Balance, 2020). Open banking is the drive behind both innovation and competition in the financial industry (Cahill, n.d.). 

PSD2 is a European Directive that regulates electronic payment services, was implemented in all EEA countries in 2016 and went live in September 2019.

 

Open Banking in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is on its way to becoming a leading fintech technology hub in southeast Europe with about 100 fintech companies in the country’s fintech ecosystem (Yovchev, 2020). The capital, Sofia, having the second-fastest broadband services in the world as well as Bulgaria’s low cost of living, help startups to launch (Stojkovski, 2019). Additionally, all key financial companies in the country are actively taking part in the fintech ecosystem, which enables a resource ecosystem (Stojkovski, 2019). Bulgaria does not have a regulatory sandbox (Stojkovski, 2019). 

Digitalising Bulgaria’s industry sectors and developing a data-based economy is one of the goals in the nation's EU funded Digital Bulgaria 2025 program (DESI, 2020, 12). This being said, the level of qualification of the labour force is a major obstacle for Bulgarian business in utilising digital technologies (DESI, 2020, 12). 

Bulgaria is a member of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking and has signed the Declaration of Cooperation on Artificial Intelligence (DESI, 2020, 12). In 2019, Bulgaria adopted a strategy for the digitalisation of agriculture and rural areas and the Bulgarian Academy of Science developed a framework for a national strategy for AI in Bulgaria by 2030. Additionally, Sofia Tech Park will be hosting a Petascale supercomputing system with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (DESI, 2020, 12). After its launch, Bulgaria will become a regional digital hub.

Of all Bulgarian citizens using the internet, 13% use the internet for online banking, which is 53% below the EU average (DESI, 2020, 10). The amount of cashless payments have been growing steadily and in 2018 31.1% of all credit transfers were initiated electronically (Kolev, 2020). Additionally, on integration of digital technologies, Bulgaria ranks 28th among EU countries (DESI, 2020, 11). Furthermore, Bulgaria ranks 23rd in the EU for digital public services (DESI, 2020, 13). 

Bulgaria has a total of 25 banks, the largest of which include UniCredit and DSK Bank (Kolev, 2020). 

How Does Open Banking Work?

Open banking uses an API that allows financial institutions to exchange financial data, usually through a third party-developed application (Estevez, 2020). These applications are developed by up and coming FinTech companies with the mission to improve digital banking.

To access and use the open banking APIs in Bulgaria, you will need to acquire an account information service provider license, issued by the relevant authority. Furthermore, you will require a relevant certificate (QTSPs or eIDAS), compliant with PSD2 requirements. Alternatively, you can use an open banking platform, such as Nordigen

References

The Balance. (2020, October 11). What Open Banking Is and How It Will Affect You. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-open-banking-and-how-will-it-affect-you-4173727

Cahill, H. (n.d.).InvoiceFair. The Evolution of Open Banking: Connectivity breeds digital competition. https://invoicefair.com/the-evolution-of-open-banking-connectivity-breeds-digital-competition-081118/

DESI. (2020). Bulgaria.Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2020, 1-13.

Estevez, E. (2020, August 27).Open Banking. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/open-banking.asp


Banks

Here is a list of major banks providing Open Banking in Bulgaria

Providers

Here is a list of major open banking platforms in Bulgaria

Nordigen

Nordigen is an authorised Account Information Service Provider. We provide free access to bank data and premium data insights, using regulated PSD2 connections.