Why the rise in financial APIs?

Written by: Richard Bastin
Published on: July 01, 2013

Why the rise in financial APIs?

The number of APIs has exploded in recent years. We are now in an age of programmable computing where developers are able to build bespoke products and services powered by other companies’ publicly released APIs.

This trend holds true for APIs concerning financial services. Financial APIs have been on an exponential increase which shows no sign of slowing down. At the time of writing, over 400 financial APIs could be found on ProgrammableWeb.com. This time last year, just over half that number was available.

The reason behind this growth is due to both changes in attitudes to financial services, along with standalone technical innovations. APIs themselves have been around for years. However, continuing scandals and growing dissatisfaction with traditional banking services means that more and more consumers and businesses are now willing to turn to alternative providers. We are increasingly seeing web-enabled businesses building their own payments and financial services capabilities, deliberately optimised for their own needs. e.g. bespoke subscription billing or mass payments systems built using third-party APIs.

At Currency Cloud, we like to make things as simple and transparent for our customers as possible. If a business wishes to integrate our capabilities, they can sign up and gain access to our XBPConnect API without having to worry about speaking to the Sales department.

When signed up, developers are given a key which grants access to our Demo system. This works in exactly the same way as our full Production RESTful API, except that key parts of the process are simulated. This enables developers to play around with the system and truly understand the product on a self-serve basis before they commit to using it in earnest.

As our API’s are so simple to use, developers benefit from reduced development time and a lesser need for in-house expertise to create bespoke solutions. Our API’s are fully documented on our web site which answers most questions, but we also provide advice when required, to help our customers get the best out of the product. In summary, both sides benefit.

Financial APIs are a key tool for the web economy. The ability for financial applications to interact seamlessly together while the end user sees only one interface, is highly important. Businesses need the ability to customise the capabilities of specialist providers for their own needs.

Will we see banks publicly release APIs? Kristin Moyer of Gartner argued last October that banks need to stop relying on reactive product delivery and start providing a transformation delivery model that uses APIs and apps. We would completely agree with Kristin, but suspect it may be a long time before banks embrace the API revolution.

In the meantime at Currency Cloud we have provided you with the API’s you need to carry out currency conversion and international payments. You don’t need to wait for the banks, to help your business grow.

Richard Bastin