According to Merchant Machine, 85% of Spanish had access to the internet in 2021. Of all Spanish using the internet, 60% use the internet for online banking, which is 6% below the EU average. Additionally, Spain ranks 11th in the integration of digital technologies and 5th for digital public services among EU countries.
Spain falls under the PSD2 legislation and has adopted Berlin Group’s NextGenPSD2 standard. PSD2 is a European Directive that regulates electronic payment services and was implemented in all EEA countries in 2016 and went live in September 2019.
In their European Open Banking league, Yapily ranked Spain 11 out of 18. Although Spain uses the Berlin group standard, and Redsys API gateway makes it easy to integrate in Spain. However, there are many variations between banks, meaning it is harder to normalise across integrations. Nonetheless, Open Banking adoption in Spain is steadily going in the right direction. Uptake is beginning to accelerate, with more TPPs coming to the fore and Spain boasting the second-largest improvement in API performance between 2021 to 2022, showing continued investment in the ecosystem.
Yapily states that even though regulatory bodies have welcomed PSD2 and Open Banking in Spain, the supervision and enforcement of the rules have been very weak. A stricter approach whereby the regulators collect real data around API availability and adherence to legal requirements, followed by enforcement against breaches of these rules, would ensure that Open Banking journeys are streamlined therefore accelerating adoption. Furthermore, although many banks have made APIs available that adhere to the Berlin Group standard, quality across Spain remains patchy. Additionally, issue ticket escalation and resolution systems within banks could be improved.
The EU Commission has announced its intention to adopt an Open Finance regulatory framework.
According to The Global Findex Database, 98% of Spanish adults had bank accounts in 2021.
Spanish consumers are particularly interested in the benefits that Open Banking payment initiation services can provide. In a recent study researching the Open Banking adoption among consumers, 38% of Spanish consumers were interested in receiving intelligent assistance to manage payments, and 32% were interested in having their data used to develop convenient new payment methods.
Spain ranks 21st globally in terms of Fintech adoption index and 7th at the European level. Spanish consumers had a 56% Fintech adoption rate. EY asked consumers about their use of 19 Fintech services across five categories. Fintech adopter was defined as someone who has used two or more “buckets” of services since this indicates a habitual change in behaviour in a way that the use of a single service does not. A bucket consists of a major Fintech service or two or more related services, such as online stockbroking and online investment advice.
The Spanish Government published the law for a regulatory sandbox, which enables Fintechs to test their innovations without the risk of infringing on regulatory requirements in 2020.
376 Fintechs operated in Spain in 2021. Open Banking has become a key asset in the growth of Fintechs in Spain, which has gone from representing a total volume of 35 million euros in 2013 to 300 million euros in 2021.
According to EY Ernst & Young, some of the challenges for the Fintech ecosystem in Spain are adapting to changing regulations and accessing the funding necessary for startups to develop.
Spain ranks 10th in human capital among EU countries in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2021. The human capital measures digital skills, the proportion of employed people working as ICT specialists, female ICT specialists, and enterprises offering ICT training.
The Spanish Regulatory Sandbox is identified as a testing environment in which the supervisory authority will allow the testing of innovative technology-based projects in the financial field, with real users, under the control and supervision of the competent authority.
The ultimate goal of the Sandbox will be to support the development of innovative projects under a legal and secure framework, which, due to the novelty of their business model, are unable to find a place in the current regulatory framework.
Spain has adopted the Berlin Group’s NextGenPSD2 technical standard.