By Steve O’Hear for Tech Crunch
In another example of Starling Bank jumping on the Open Banking/PSD2 train before legislation in the U.K. and Europe next year will force banks to do so, it is launching its latest API partnership: this time with Yoyo Wallet, the U.K.-based mobile payment and loyalty platform.
The new integration sees Yoyo use Starling’s Open Banking-compliant API to let you link your Starling bank account to your Yoyo Wallet so that whenever you pay at one of Yoyo’s retail partners using your Starling Bank card, you automatically collect any loyalty points on offer. This means that you don’t have to remember to pay using the Yoyo app (or, presumably, a retailer’s white labelled version), which otherwise requires opening the app and scanning a bar code.
Here’s how it works: To begin linking your Starling account to your Yoyo account, you open the Yoyo app and are asked to scan your Starling card using your phone’s camera, like you ordinarily do to add any card as a payment option to Yoyo Wallet. However, in this instance, Yoyo will recognise you bank with Starling and ask to you to authenticate with Starling and grant it permission to access certain data from your Starling account.
Once you’ve done so, any time you use your Starling card at Yoyo-accepting high street merchants, you instantly earn retailer-specific loyalty points, which can be exchanged for rewards, discounts and offers. Yoyo’s retailer partnerships include high street chains such as Planet Organic, Fernandez & Wells, Wrap It Up and HOP Vietnamese.
More broadly, this speaks to Starling Bank’s “marketplace banking” vision: the idea that your bank will provide you with access to a choice of third-party money-related apps and services. However, for now at least, Yoyo is simply making use of the Starling API and the partnership doesn’t see Yoyo Wallet listed in the Starling Marketplace portion of the Starling Bank app (although I’m told this is coming) and Yoyo Wallet’s item level receipt data doesn’t show up in the Starling Bank app, either.
This makes it a much less deep integration than Starling’s recent partnership with Flux, which also offers item level digital receipts and soon retail loyalty programs. That could change, of course, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yoyo more deeply integrate with Starling at a future date. After all, Starling’s marketplace banking strategy is to partner far and wide to create a network effect on both sides of its market where the app becomes more useful the more users and partners/integrations it adds.
Along with Flux, and now Yoyo Wallet, it has also integrated to varying degrees with offers platform Tail and savings app Moneybox. Meanwhile, a partnership with TransferWise was announced in March but has yet to see the light of day.