How to integrate with Polish banks – 7 helpful tips for Third-Party Providers

Aleksandra Rajczyk

Open banking creates new challenges for developers. Often they go beyond coding because we are dealing with a major shift in how the financial institutions conduct their businesses. Currently, one of the most sought-out services is helping TPPs integrate with banks’ API. 

At BinarApps, we had the opportunity to work with a TPP based in the USA that wanted to connect with Polish banks. Their goal is to go global. For them, the PSD2 Directive was a perfect opportunity to enter the EU market. 

When the Client approached us in early 2019, the Polish API Standard was in the beginner stage of creation. Nothing was set in stone. It quickly became clear that we had to tread new ground because it was a field no one has explored yet. It was a great learning experience that ended with success (not without a few hiccups along the way). 

Below you’ll find 7 tips that are a result of hands-on experience with open banking integration. 

1. There are exceptions to every rule 

The Polish API Standard should not be considered an end-all, be-all set of rules. The vast majority of banks interpret the points included in the contents differently. This leads to deviations from the standard, which makes the work more complicated. Banks do not always clearly state this in their documentation, so be ready to always ask about their interpretation of the rules. 

2. Find a way to report

Reporting errors and providing questions or comments in various banks can take different forms. Some banks have special panels for reports, but the vast majority do so by sending a description of the issue to a dedicated e-mail account. Keep those in check so you’re not looking for them frantically when things get complicated. 

3. Acquire a JWS signature

If possible, get a sample JWS signature from every bank. This will help you get through JWS validation. Unfortunately, the 2.1 version does not take this into account. 

4. Find the right format

The bank’s documentation should provide you with 2 important things: how and in which format the bank accepts the certificate for authorization and/or authentication. The Polish API Standard gives several possibilities, and the banks do not always support all of them.

5. Discuss problems face-to-face

In the event of significant issues, ask the bank for a programming session with a technical team from the bank to properly identify the problem. Not all banks are open to this, but it won’t hurt to provide them with such a possibility.

6. Know who to call

If possible, get a telephone number of a person responsible for support. Not everyone will agree to this right away. However, in time-sensitive cases, direct contact is extremely helpful. Don’t abuse this privilege!

7. Be ready for bumps on the road

Sandbox environments are constantly being developed, which means that they are not always stable. If there are problems that have not occurred before, it is worth asking support if there are any service works being carried out at the moment.

As you can see, most of the tips tell a tale as old as time: soft skills are extremely important in a developer’s work. 

Good luck with your projects!

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Aleksandra Rajczyk

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