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What is a Third-Party Access Interface and when do I need to provide one?

'Competition and Markets Authority 9' (CMA9) members are mandated by the Financial Conduct Authority (<a href="/glossarycollection/financial-conduct-authority" style="color:#48277C;" target="_blank" title="Financial Conduct Authority"><u>FCA</u></a>) to provide a dedicated Application Programming Interface (<a href="/glossarycollection/application-programming-interface" style="color:#48277C;" target="_blank" title="Application Programming Interface"><u>API</u></a>) for approved third parties to access their accounts. Non-CMA9 online account providers are allowed to use either an API or a Modified Customer Interface (<a href="/glossarycollection/modified-customer-interface" style="color:#48277C;" target="_blank" title="Modified Customer Interface"><u>MCI</u></a>).<br/><br/>

An MCI is a way of allowing Third-Party Providers (<a href="/glossarycollection/third-party-provider" style="color:#48277C;" target="_blank" title="Third-Party Provider"><u>TPP</u></a>) to access the bank's existing 'Direct Channel' (online customer account access).<br/><br/>

In addition, account providers or Account Servicing Payment Services Providers (<a href="/glossarycollection/account-servicing-payment-service-provider" style="color:#48277C;" target="_blank" title="Account Servicing Payment Services Provider"><u>ASPSP</u></a>) must prove that their dedicated API interface meets a number of performance criteria, otherwise they must provide a so called 'Contingency Mechanism'.<br/><br/>

The 'Contingency Mechanism' is effectively the same as the Modified Customer Interface in that it allows TPPs to use the bank's existing direct channel if the dedicated interface is not available. If an account provider wishes to avoid having to build a contingency mechanism they must apply to the regulator and meet the performance criterion mentioned above.

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