Business Insider ranked the Top 50 banks in Europe. Here are their APIs.

…if they have them yet

Greg Dickens
Feb 27 · 11 min read

I wrote a piece a little while back about how a new regulation in Europe is forcing banks to share their data through APIs and is opening up a huge wave of opportunity when it comes to developing new digital products on top of this financial data.

Banks have until later this year to fully comply with this regulation, but many are ahead of the curve with making their data available through APIs.

I wanted to do a quick round-up of what’s out there already and see where the best place to start is if you’re someone looking to build a new product that will take advantage of this new opportunity.

Last year Business Insider ranked the Top 50 banks in Europe by size of their assets (or the amount of loans they have issued).

I went through this list and checked out what each of these 50 banks has to offer (or doesn’t have to offer) in the way of APIs and Developer portals.

Here’s what I found.

1. HSBC (UK)

Currently HSBC only has the most basic (and not very useful) informational APIs available with documentation and sandboxes (ATMs/Branches Location, Product information).

API’s to access accounts and initiate payments are under development, but no sandbox or API reference is available for these yet.

2. BNP Paribas (France)

BNP Paribas is a member of the Open Bank Project which is very well documented with common specifications across many banks along with a comprehensive API Reference and SDKs for all languages.

All Open Bank Project banks have a broad range of very useful APIs to access account data, transaction history, customer onboarding/KYC, payment initiation, as well as basic product and branch location information.

3. Credit Agricole (France)

I didn’t get too far with this one as all of the documentation is in French only but they do have some API docs to explore for the French speakers out there. They do seem a bit dated, but again, wasn’t able to explore very much.

4. Deutsche Bank (Germany)

Deutsche Bank has very well documented APIs with a unique take on Account information. They have an API for accessing basic Account details, but also APIs that use this account information to verify identities, check for solvency, and validate that someone is 18+ years old.

Their Payment Initiation APIs are still under development.

https://developer.db.com/

5. Banco Santander (Spain)

Santander is another member of the Open Bank Project so it shares the same common specifications as BNP Paribas and other banks along with a comprehensive API Reference and SDKs for all languages.

Like all Open Bank Project banks, Santander has APIs to access account data, transaction history, customer onboarding/KYC, payment initiation, as well as basic product and branch location information.

6. Barclays (UK)

Barclays has a pretty flashy front-end for their developer portal but it fails to deliver when you dig a bit deeper. I had a pretty tough time exploring it as it kicked up a maddening amount of 500 internal server errors, but it seems that they have at least documented their API reference for Account Information and Payment Initiation as well as basic product and branch location information.

But in order to get access to the much more valuable Account Information and Payment Initiation APIs they kick you over to the UK Open Banking portal to register there. (which requires registration with the UK banking regulator)

7. Societe Generale (France)

Currently has no live API developer portal, but SocGen was part of the open bank project, similar to BNP Paribas and others so they did have similar APIs available at some point.

Currently the link to their Open Bank Project sandbox is dead and they do not have any other Developer Portal live yet to replace it.

8. Groupe BPCE / Natixis (France)

None

9. Lloyds (UK)

Lloyds just has the most basic informational APIs available at this point. (Product Information, Branch/ATM Locations) Currently no sign of any of the more useful APIs for accessing account details or making transactions.

10. ING (Netherlands)

A lot of work seems to be going on at ING on their developer portal currently. They have a very good Getting Started guide to establishing initial connectivity but beyond that most of their APIs are not currently live.

They had an Account Information API for account details, balances, and transaction history but itis currently marked as deprecated. (no replacement that I can see as of yet)

Coming soon they will have payment initiation as well as account details for virtual sub-ledger bank accounts which is an interesting offering that I haven’t seen from other banks.

11. Unicredit (Italy)

Unicredit currently just has a landing page with very very little public facing information about their APIs. Also appears to be limited to their businesses in Czech Republic and Slovakia.

12. Royal Bank of Scotland (UK)

RBS has a very focused offering of APIs on the core of what’s required by new regulation: Account Information and Payment Initiation.

Unlike other UK banks, however, they have all of the documentation already available for these APIs and they offer a downloadable local host sandbox to start testing right away before registering.

Definitely a good option for someone who is looking to start experimenting with UK Open Banking right away.

13. Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy)

Intesa has a nice API “playground” that let’s you experiment with APIs for Account Balance, Payment Initiation, and Bank Account Number verification right away.

But beyond that, just getting sign-in credentials to access their developer portal you are directed to “Contact your relationship manager”. (Ouch) Looks like nothing for third party app developers yet.

14. Credit Mutuel (France)

None

15. UBS (Switzerland)

None

16. Credit Suisse (Switzerland)

None

17. BBVA (Spain)

BBVA is hands-down the best bank developer portal I’ve seen so far. Not only do they have a vast catalogue of well documented APIs for Account Information, Payments, Cards, Loans, Alipay integration, and more, but they have fully functioning examples of an app and even a Telegram bot using demonstrating how to use their APIs.

They also have a bunch of free articles and ebooks. Overall, a massive wealth of useful information and a great developer portal.

18. Rabobank (Netherlands)

Rabobank has all of the essentials that you need but not much beyond that. They have a pretty standard API Reference that you can explore before signing up and a sandbox for their Account Information and Payment Initiation APIs.

The only other API they have is for Requesting Payments, but this is an interesting differentiator that not many other banks currently offer.

19. Nordea (Sweden)

Nordea has a limited but very useful range of APIs for accessing Account Information and Initiating Payments.

They have a great range of resources to get started including examples and training videos and their documentation is very comprehensive including change-logs.

20. Standard Chartered (UK)

Like Barclay’s, Standard Chartered has a very flashy front-end site that disappoints when you dig into it a little bit deeper.

They list an extensive list of APIs but it turns out most of these are for Corporate clients only. Their retail APIs are limited to basic information like branch locations, products, and fx rates.

Even these basic APIs require sign-up before you can explore any kind of reference or documentation.

https://axess.sc.com/

21. DZ Bank (Germany)

None

22. Danske Bank (Denmark)

Just a landing page from Danske Bank: “Sign-up to stay informed” and to “Apply for Early Access.”

23. Commerzbank (Germany)

Similar to Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank doesn’t yet have a retail Payment Initiation API. Currently they just have basic Account Information and Branch Location APIs.

Documentation is a bit light and you need to sign-up in order to explore the API reference.

24. Cassa depositi e prestiti (Italy)

None

25. PAO Sberbank (Russia)

Russian language only, but they do have a developer portal for the Russian speakers out there to explore.

26. ABN AMRO (Netherlands)

Just slightly better than a landing page. ABN AMRO has a few APIs listed as under development including the core Account Information and Payment Initiation APIs, but no reference or sandbox available yet.

27. Caixa Bank (Spain)

None

28. KBC Group (Belgium)

None

29. Svenska Handelsbanken (Sweden)

Very similar to Commerzbank, they have a sandbox for Account Information but Payment Initiation is marked as coming soon. Their Account Information lets you check account details, transaction history, and balance information.

Documentation is a bit light here as well and you need to sign-up in order to get access to any of the details.

30. DNB ASA (Norway)

Very impressive range of APIs from Norwegian bank DNB with a thoroughly documented API reference that you can start exploring right away. They have a robust sandbox environment with dummy data for 10 different customers for Account Information, Payment Initiation, Cards, as well as APIs for basic information like branch locations and FX rates.

They are actively encouraging pull requests and contributions and seem to be making it a priority to engage with the developer community.

31. Nationwide (UK)

Nationwide has just a very basic list of the features that they will provide through their Account Information and Payment Initiation APIs.

There seems to be no plans for any kind of sandbox and all developers are directed to sign-up through the UK regulator first before they can access anything. (Ouch)

32. SEB (Sweden)

Very similar to Nordea, with a limited but very useful range of APIs for accessing Account Information and Initiating Payments, but without the extensive materials for getting started.

API reference is available to explore right away and documentation is very comprehensive including change-logs.

33. Landesbank Baden-Wurteemberg (Germany)

None

34. La Banque Postale (France)

Another member of the Open Bank Project so you can expect a very comprehensive API Reference and SDKs for all languages.

Like all Open Bank Project banks, La Banque Postale has APIs to access account data, transaction history, customer onboarding/KYC, payment initiation, as well as basic product and branch location information.

35. Swedbank (Sweden)

Very limited — they have a sandbox in beta for Account Information but Payment Initiation is marked as coming soon. You have to sign-up to get access to any of the docs.

36. Banco de Sabadell (Spain)

Sabadell left me scratching my head. On one hand they have several examples of sample apps that they’ve developed with their APIs and have shared all of the sample code for these. Very impressive and something that I haven’t seen anywhere else!

And all of their API documentation is available up-front and seems to be more than sufficient with a full range of Account Information and Payment initiation APIs.

But then in order to sign-up to their developer portal, they make it a requirement that you have to open a bank account with them… this left me very confused why they would put in all of this effort and then put such a big limitation on developer access.

http://developers.bancsabadell.com/

37. Bankia (Spain)

None

38. Erste Group (Austria)

Erste Group has all of the essential APIs including Account Information, Payments Initiation, as well as Customer Onboarding which I’ve only seen offered by Open Banking Project banks like BNP Paribas and Santander.

It wasn’t clear which countries they available for though, but it appears to just be for Czech Republic currently.

Their documentation is definitely above average with a thorough API reference you can explore right away along with a great Getting Started guide complete with a Tutorial. (which has been a rare find!)

39. Bayerische Landesbank (Germany)

None

40. Raiffeisen (Switzerland)

None

41. Nykredit (Denmark)

None

42. JSCVTB Bank (Russia)

None

43. Dexia (Belgium)

None

44. Belfius Banque (Belgium)

Similar to Rabobank, they have all of the essentials that you need but not much beyond that. They have a pretty standard API Reference that you can explore before signing up and then you can sandbox their Account Information and Payment Initiation APIs.

A little bit light on the documentation and not much more beyond the standard docs to help you get started.

45. Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (Germany)

None

46. Banco BPM (Italy)

None

47. Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen Girozentrale (Germany)

None

48. Zurcher Kantonalbank (Switzerland)

None

49. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (Italy)

None

50. OP Financial Group (Finland)

Last on the list but definitely not least!

Maybe the most impressive range of APIs, rivaled only by BBVA and Open Bank Project banks. All the essential APIs for Account Information and Payment Initiation are here along with APIs for Wealth Management, Loans, and integrations with third-party wallets.

Documentation is thorough with examples and a Javascript SDK.

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Greg Dickens

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Recovering Banker & Startup Mentor | Get my Free Finance Course for Founders, Creators and Freelancers: gjdickens.com/l/freefinancecourse

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