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It won’t be wrong to say that APIs are powering some of the FinTech innovation engines. APIs are the answer to the question of how startups are able to build products faster these days. Most FinTech companies now float their products on cloud services so that they can access API data like an on-premise database. API approach lets fresh-off-the-boat tech companies and ever competitive developers innovate much faster on the built platform, as opposed to keeping their app development limited to compliance-inhibited, resource-strapped IT organizations.
As FinTech startups continue to disrupt traditional financial services, banks are also waking up to the fact that offering an open API — where developers can latch on and create very specific customized app solutions — is the way to engage and retain their customers in the future. But banks are still not opening up enough!
Let us look at an exhaustive list of APIs that are doing great:
Braintree’s Partners APIs provides users with an integrated way to start accepting payments using the Braintree payments gateway. The API allows users to sign up seamlessly from within applications and get instant approvals so merchants can easily receive the credentials on a user’s behalf, basically everything required to process a transaction. It becomes easier for merchants if their customers are already Braintree users, in which case users only need to sign in to initiate payments. For existing Braintree merchants, the Partners API enables developers to build valuable features in their apps like data visualizations and reporting.
The CardConnect API allows secure acceptance of a wide-range of credit, debit and alternative payments. Instead of a high flat rate, CardConnect uses “interchange plus” pricing as processing costs. The API offers features like next day funding, certified PCI level 1, patented tokenization, recurring billing, online bill presentment, hosted payment page and fraud protection as well. From Yen to Euros, CardConnect has you covered. CardConnect’s partnerships throughout the world allow it to offer global pricing and operate in different currencies internationally. CardConnect’s reach includes Canada, Japan, and 18 European countries with more in the very near future.
The Dwolla API provides an interface to integrate the Dwolla payments platform into a software application. Dwolla is a payments processor that provides a web based platform which allows users to send, receive, and request funds from any other user. Dwolla can be used to share money with friends through Facebook and Twitter. Users can also purchase goods and services through the web and mobile devices. The API provides developers with the functionality to send, request, and retrieve account history and send money between Dwolla accounts.
The technology giant offers exclusive Wallet APIs which enable the integration of its popular Google Wallet services. The APIs help streamline purchase flow across mobile apps and websites. Two major API offerings include:
Instant Buy: this API provides a cloud-based method to access and store payment information. It increases conversions by streamlining purchase flow and reducing the amount of information customers need to enter. It can integrate with existing payments infrastructure and offer payment services quickly, easily, and free of charge.
Wallet Objects: this API is a simple platform to connect businesses to millions of Google users and showcase loyalty programs, offers, and more. Businesses can engage with customers through the always-available platform with location-based notifications, real-time updates, and messaging. Moreover, it becomes easier to manage updates at scale through the cloud.
The company offers the quickbooks Online API which allows developers to leverage the huge amount of financial data that businesses create within quickbooks. Intuit also offers the Customer Account Data API which, along with the QuickBooks Online API, provides developers with programmatic access to data from more than 19,000 financial institutions. Using these APIs, developers can create third-party applications for QuickBooks which can be offered to consumers through the Intuit Apps.com app marketplace.
The iZettle API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of iZettle with other applications and to create new applications. Some example API methods include managing account information, processing payments, and retrieving payment information. iZettle itself is a mobile, tablet, and web-based payment application. Users can accept payments via mobiles, tablets, and the web with iZettle. iZettle also offers dedicated APIs for integrating support for chip-based card payments. iZettle already offers a mini chip-card reader. Developers can use the chip-card APIs to enable apps to access the card reader and turn the phone into a terminal.
In November last year, payments innovator Marqeta introduced an open issuer processing Payments API. The company already offers a payments platform with feature-rich functionality, making it quick and easy to set up new physical and mobile payment cards, configure multiple funding types, and define how and where cards can be used in real time. Marqeta can power a host of specialty applications, from processing and program management, to multi-merchant commerce, to dynamic spend controls for both business-to-business and consumer use cases. Developers can access all of these features using Marqeta’s open APIs.
The credit card processing giant offers an array of API based solutions to cover multiple aspects of payments solutions. Here are some prominent APIs that MasterCard officially offers to developers for developing payments solutions:
Simplify Commerce: enables acceptance of e-commerce and mobile commerce payments, regardless of the payment brand.
MoneySend: enables money transfer service through multiple access channels.
Mobile UI SDK: can be integrated into a proximity payment mobile UI application to enable mobile banking and mobile wallet service.
rePower: allows participants to add funds to accounts through various points of deposit.
MasterPass — Merchant Checkout: enables online checkout by retrieving payment card information from a digital wallet in the MasterPass network.
Western Union Money Transfers: enables financial institutions to send and receive money transfers using Western Union Agent Network.
The REST APIs by PayPal allow the integration of the popular payment processing system into a web oriented checkout system. PayPal also offers mobile SDKs for iOS and Android that make use of the REST APIs. The REST APIs allow payments either using PayPal credentials or using traditional payment cards as well. PayPal Here is an app that works as a cash register to accept payments on phones.
The Adaptive Payments API by PayPal enables merchants and developers to select the payment scenario that is most suitable to their needs. Merchants and developers can create applications that manage payments, payment pre-approvals, and refunds. Merchants and developers also can send money peer-to-peer, and can split payments in both the parallel and the chained models. Merchants and developers can accept guest payments and can schedule disbursements.
In 2014, Square publicly opened its Connect API to allow merchants and third-party developers to create apps and tools around Square’s platform. Merchants can use Connect API to retrieve activity reports for processed payments, refunds and deposits. Square itself received a massive $150 Mn in funds in 2014 and has offered a number of new services like Square Cash and Square Order. Moreover, the company has also come up with upgraded versions of mPOS hardware solutions. We certainly expect Square to offer even more solutions in 2015, from an API perspective.
APIs by Stripe lets developers integrate payments within their website or apps. Stripe already went global in early 2014 supporting more than 130 currencies. With Stripe, a customer in South Africa can make purchases from a Stripe-using merchant in UK. For merchants, Stripe APIs bring a one stop solution to multi-currency acceptance rather than having to work with multiple financial partners.
Stripe recently updated its APIs to support Bitcoin based payments as well. Launched in March 2014, Stripe has earned itself a reputation for offering hassle-free online payment APIs to address businesses of all sizes.
Visa first launched the “V.me” digital wallet solution in collaboration with Nationwide in UK. V.me allows the user to store card information for multiple credit and debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, american express and Discover along with the ‘Bill to’ and ‘Ship to’ addresses for each of the cards. V.me allows making purchases with a single sign-on which is secure across all channels and devices. All of this is possible through the V.me APIs which makes the integration seamless across platforms.
2014 saw the advent of a secure and convenient way to pay at stores using an iPhone 6 or 6+ with NFC and finger-print Touch ID. Apple Pay is helping users avoid the hassle of carrying a physical wallet and to conduct payments in a secure manner. Apple has provided APIs and SDKs to third party developers to allow them to integrate Apple Pay in their apps. This has seen Apple Pay integrated in a number of payment systems, especially in the case of in-app purchases. More and more banks have been able to integrate Apple Pay thanks to the APIs. This powerful Apple Pay feature will further boost its upcoming international expansion.
Yodlee Interactive, a division of Yodlee, builds APIs to help customers bring innovative FinApps to market more quickly using the richest consumer transactional data in the world. It primarily offers the following two APIs:
Instant Account Verification API — This API is used to enable developers to reduce fraud and risk and also reduce friction. This enables them to get paid quickly because they actually verify the account so the developer can then charge the account making it more seamless and less fragile.
Aggregation API — Enables developers to get access to randomized and securitized bank data through the ability to aggregate accounts, whether it’s an investment account, a bank account, a credit card account, a rewards account, an insurance account, or some other account.
Besides the above two, the company has launched an Enterprise API, custom-built and co-branded for individual financial institutions. Yodlee’s API also allows geo-location information to be added to financial data.
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