Swiss API initiatives

In the Swiss banking environment, various initiatives have recently been formed on the API issue. This article is intended to provide a basic overview of the orientation and objectives of these initiatives. Although extensively researched, this article does not claim to be exhaustive. The network diagrams in this article reflect the author's classification.

In the following, these dimensions are considered:

  • Standardization: Freely accessible API specification
  • Implementation: Commercial API implementation
  • Benefits for banks: The primary target group of the initiative are banks (more possible)
  • TPP Support: The primary target group of the initiative are third party providers (others possible)
  • Expansion of business areas: The initiator of the initiative thus combines an expansion of her field of activity


Common API (SFTI)

The primary objective of the SFTI's Common API Working Group is to create a common standard for the API specification.

The implementation of the specification is not the task of the working group. The implementation should be carried out primarily on the core banking systems by their manufacturers.

Primarily, banks should be the beneficiaries, but there is also a high focus on the benefits for Fintechs/TPPs.

SFTI is not pursuing commercial interests with this initiative.


b.Link (SIX)

The SIX b.Link initiative (former Corporate API) has as its primary goal the implementation of API-based services for commercial bank customers for account access and payment initiation (XS2A, Payment Initiation). In the future, banking APIs for other business areas will be implemented.

The actual standardization of the underlying API specification is not the main focus here, but its unification for the users of the implementation is.

Beneficiaries should be banks and Fintechs/TPPs alike.

With this project, SIX wants to offer Swiss banks commercially exploitable, API-based services and thus expand their business areas.


 Open Banking Hub (Swisscom)

The primary goal of the Open Banking Hub is to implement API-based services for Swisscom's SaaS customers. The basis for this is their existing interconnectivity infrastructure.

The actual standardisation of the underlying API specification is not at the forefront here, but is considered necessary from the point of view of achieving cost benefits alone. Standardization will be carried out successively, if an existing market standard cannot be used.

Beneficiaries should be banks and Fintechs/TPPs alike.

With this solution, Swisscom intends to offer its SaaS customers API-based services and act as an attractive SaaS provider for new banks


 Meta Data Directory for banking (SKSF)

With the Payments Data Dictionary, the SKSF (Swiss Commission for Standardization in the Financial Sector) wants to create a basis for the realization of sustainable banking APIs. The data elements documented there are fully compliant with the ISO20022 standard for messages in payment traffic.

The focus here is on creating a basis for the standardisation of APIs.

Beneficiaries of the project are primarily banks, but also all other potential users of the APIs.

With this initiative, the SKSF wants to ensure that new interface standards are fully compatible with the above-mentioned ISO standard.


openbankingproject (BEI)

The initiative is intended to create a knowledge platform on Open Banking in Switzerland and will provide a simple sandbox for checking API reference implementations.

The creation of API standards is not the primary focus, and the implementation of productively usable, API-based services is the responsibility of banks and TPPs.

The target group of the project are banks, TPPs and manufacturers of backend systems.

With this project, the founding and project partners want to promote Open Banking in Switzerland. To ensure this, they are assigning the chairmanship to BEI (Business Engineering Institute St. Gallen AG)


Author: J. Petry (SFTI), 2019 

Select your language