A BANKING revolution that promises to herald new freedoms in managing our money is about to dawn, but few consumers know anything about it.

Open banking, which arrives in the UK a week today, will allow customers to direct their bank to make their closely guarded account data available to approved third parties. It means we, not the banks, will now own our financial data.

Driven by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the change has been hailed as a technological breakthrough that will help loosen the big banks’ iron grip on current accounts.

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The new breed of banking platforms such as Atom, Starling and Monzo will now be able to get an even broader view of their customers’ financial lives, using the data to customise services, enable transactions and offer a smooth transition away from mainstream banking.

A rising number of young professionals are already shifting towards app-only banking, using cards that hook up to accounts on their smartphones to keep track of their spending and saving in real time. Apps generally allow users to create a budget, get notifications every time they buy something and even use emojis to search for information about spending.

Open banking has been called “the Uber moment for the finance industry” by former Barclays boss Antony Jenkins. However, 92 per cent of people polled by consumer association Which? have never heard of it.

The CMA claims that a consumer education and awareness programme will complete by the end of March. However, Daoud Fakhri, a financial analyst at GlobalData, said that so far the programme appears to consist of small-print warnings from banks to their customers.

“The regulators, as well as the providers, need to embark upon a comprehensive and sustained campaign to educate the public about the benefits of open banking,” he said. “To date, communication has been limited to updates to banks’ terms and conditions, which may easily be overlooked by consumers. In some cases, these updates may even have the effect of alarming them.”

One leading UK bank recently sent an email to its customers warning that if they gave third-party providers their online log-in and password details “they’ll be able to see and do anything you can do on your accounts…..we’re not responsible for what they may do”.

Mr Fakhri said: “Given recent high-profile data breaches, such as the Equifax case, many consumers will be understandably wary about anything that may leave them more exposed to the risk of fraud.”

When asked if they would be happy to share their financial data with non-banks, 69 per cent of UK consumers said no, while 85 per cent said any data sharing made them nervous about fraud, according to an Accenture survey.

Frank Jan Risseeuw, chief executive of ING-owned platform Yolt, noted that this is a natural reaction to change that has been witnessed in the sector before.

"Contactless payments were once a brand-new initiative which some people were unsure about, but they now account for a third of all card transactions in the UK,” Mr Risseeuw said.

He added that banking platforms would soon “connect multiple accounts and financial products in one place, instantly giving users a holistic view of their money, and allowing them to better manage and track their spending and payments in one place”.

Retailers are interested too. The Accenture research found that nearly a third of retailers want to access shoppers’ bank accounts so they can offer a more seamless service. But non-banks are trusted significantly less than banks when it comes to handling consumers’ financial data, with 53 per cent of respondents vowing never to embrace open data sharing.

It is unlikely to be a dramatic revolution. Despite the seven-day current account switching service, small banks are making only modest inroads into the two-thirds market share of accounts traditionally held by big four banks Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays. Overall, industry figures show that smaller banks have actually lost over 176,000 customers since 2013 while the big players have made a net gain of over 218,000.

The big four are already taking action, with HSBC developing its own mobile-banking platform, which will allow customers to see all their accounts – even with rival banks – on one screen.

Accenture director Jeremy Light said: “Until new entrants to the financial services sector can earn consumers’ trust, banks can draw on their extensive heritage to secure an important early advantage.”