Did you know that many universities and colleges have different types of funding support available for eligible students who are struggling financially?
It’s great that there may be financial support available for you from your uni or college, but applying often comes with a lot of paperwork, which can be time-consuming to complete.
As part of the process, you will often be required to provide annotated bank statements as evidence of your need for financial help, which can take ages to search for, download and upload (or sometimes you may only be able to obtain paper copies — who even has a printer these days!? 🙄) alongside the application.
But, that’s all about to change when you’re applying for a fund through the Blackbullion platform…
… Enter Open Banking.
What is Open Banking?
In a nutshell, Open Banking is a type of technology that allows a third party to connect to your financial information (usually from your bank account). But only ever with your consent.
With your permission, the third party can then view information such as transactions and regular payments, but never edit or make any changes to your information, accounts, data and details.
By allowing a third party to see your financial data, you can gain a complete picture of your finances and benefit from automating things that you’d otherwise have to do manually, while always remaining in control of your personal information. 🤓
Read more about Open Banking here.
How does Open Banking work when you’re applying for a fund at your university or college through the Blackbullion platform?
Now for the exciting news: we’re integrating Open Banking into the process of applying for a fund at your university or college through the Blackbullion platform, powered by our Open Banking provider Bud. (More about Bud here.)
Picture this: you’ve had a look in our Funding Hub and found some financial support at your university or college that you’re eligible to apply for. Great! Now it’s just a matter of submitting an application and waiting to hear back on whether your application has been successful or not.
It’s likely that you may be required to provide annotated bank statements to evidence your application. Soon, you’ll be able to do this at the click of a button.
What does this mean for you?
Submit your application and receive a decision faster
The Open Banking connection will allow you to automatically pull in the bank statements you need to provide with your application. Saving you from having to download these from your bank, then manually highlight and add comments to your transactions.
In fact, where it would usually take around forty minutes to provide your bank statements manually, Open Banking lets you do it in just 3-5 minutes. ⏳
This means you can submit your application quicker and receive a decision faster!
When you already have a lot to focus on with student life, Open Banking will take the guesswork out of the application process. It will allow you to automate the stressful parts of the funding application process so that you can free up headspace for the other important parts of uni and college.
To speed up the process even more, there will also be a box (see below) where you can add comments about your statements, which is required for transactions above a certain threshold. Before Open Banking, you would have had to do this manually - searching through statements to find transactions you need to highlight and explain. But these will now be automatically identified for you to annotate.
This is especially important for explaining certain financial behaviours that might affect your eligibility.
A reminder of the best part - from start to finish, the whole process takes 3-5 minutes to complete! Of course, if you’d rather stick to the manual route, you’ll still have that option available too.
Alleviate unexpected delays
Another great aspect of Open Banking is that it lets you pull in transactions up to the day you submit your application. Whereas if you downloaded your statements manually from your online banking, you’d only be able to get these up until the end of the previous month.
So without using Open Banking, it’s very likely that you’ll get further requests from staff assessing your application, which could mean delays in the process and a longer wait for you to receive the money (if your application is successful).
Is Open Banking secure?
Yes, Open Banking is fully secure. You are always in control of the data you share. And even when you choose to share your data and use Open Banking as part of your application through our platform, this will only ever be visible for certain members of dedicated staff.
No one will ever be able to edit or make any changes to your information, accounts, data and details.
For even more peace of mind, our Open Banking provider Bud is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - the same organisation that regulates banks.
Think of Open Banking as a tool that helps you take control of your finances in ways that wouldn’t be possible at a traditional bank, all while maintaining the same level of security. 🕵️
What happens to my data once I connect?
When you connect your bank account(s), you’ll be taken directly to your bank. Then, your bank will complete authentication checks to connect your account securely.
Once you opt in:
Only you have access to your online banking login details - nobody (not Bud, Blackbullion nor your university) will ever receive the login details to your online banking. This information will always remain private, just between you and your bank
Your consent is temporary: Every 90 days, Open Banking providers are required to ask you to re-consent to the sharing of your data. (Although these regulations may change in the future.)
You can revoke access at any time: Even if you’ve already connected to Open Banking but - for whatever reason - change your mind, there is always the option to revoke access and disconnect from the third party. (However, while any future transactions won’t be viewable, the information you provided before you disconnected will still be retained for your application.)