29 APIs That Startups Should Consider Before Building Any FinTech Product

APIs will become very important in FinTech. Earlier, APIs were built for networks which were slower and far more expensive. Also, they were designed more from the perspective of data storage than as an active ingredient of coding, which would be called over and over again. Leading APIs are now constructed keeping in mind the reduction in price for network bandwidth and the ability of the cloud ecosystem to provide fast access to massive amounts of information. Most FinTech companies now float their products on cloud services so that they can access API data like an on-premise database. If it’s on the cloud, it’s on their fingertips.

Braintree

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.

CardConnect

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.

Dwolla

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.

Google

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.

Intuit

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.

iZettle

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.

Marqeta

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.

MasterCard

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.

PayPal

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.

Square

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.

Stripe

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

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.

Apple:

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

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.

Xignite

Xignite APIs are used by over 40 startups with the clientele including companies such as Betterment, Wealthfront, Personal Capital, Yodlee, Oracle, SAS, Sungard, Charles Schwab, Navy Federal Credit Union, TD Ameritrade, Brinks, GE, and Starbucks. A particular API of the company called the ‘FactSet Fundamentals’ one of the first REST-based APIs to provide accurate and trusted historical financials, fundamentals, earnings and more across more than 170 global exchanges. FactSet Fundamentals joins more than 40 other APIs for financial services in Xignite’s API library. APIs from Xignite provide back-end data integration, powering a lot of financial service ventures.

Plaid

The startup describes itself as “The API for banking data.” Plaid gives developers the tools to integrate with bank infrastructure, and the ability to access and authorize user bank accounts faster than ever before. Plaid offers two primary products through its APIs that allow users and developers to effortlessly interact with financial institutions.

Plaid Connect: It allows developers to dig into the narrative by collecting transactional data from credit, debit, checking, savings and more accounts in a clean, usable format. It intelligently matches the merchant name, category, location and address of each purchase.

Plaid ACH Auth: ACH should ideally be simple for both users and developers. Plaid Auth helps developers authorize and set up ACH payments in a few seconds with the credentials which users already know, instead of esoteric account numbers. Developers can also verify ownership and check balances to make ACH painless.

Finicity

The Finicity platform and API enables software developers to securely and easily integrate customer financial data into their apps. With the RESTful based Finicity Aggregation API, developers can deliver exceptional user experience by leveraging the key API features. More than 16,000 data sources securely connect customers to a broad set of financial institutions to increase the possible market for apps. Comprehensive account types allow developers to feed apps the data they need to deliver a compelling user experience.

Fidor Bank

The Germany-based bank offers a standardized set of RESTful APIs and management systems handled with OAuth for authentication. With Fidor, each user can receive a specific customer ID and associated bank account. Deploying the Fidor API, requests can be made for third party payments or transfers. Single transactions as well as batch transfers or direct debit withdrawals can be made using a single API-driven procedure. Web-based requests can be made to retrieve user information such as ID & customer email. The API enables developers to access general account management features.

Fidor combines a full banking license with its own technology and Open Bank APIs. The fidorOS has been designed to work with an existing core banking system and is expandable beyond traditional banking services. The banking platform is a middleware that provides support for social trading and lending, virtual currencies and emergency loans without being tied to any legacy code.

OANDA

OANDA is a global provider of innovative forex trading services. The company offers free availability of its proprietary fxTrade platform code via the company’s REST application programming interface (API). Programming language agnostic, the OANDA API allows current and prospective partners and individual traders the opportunity to develop customized apps, and trading algorithms and strategies on top of the broker’s award-winning trading platform. OANDA’s API library provides direct communication with its fxTrade servers over secure, authenticated Internet sessions with fully encrypted communication channels.

OANDA has also conducted exclusive FinTech hackathons in the past where developers have showcased the power of APIs by developing amazing applications. Some of the applications as witnessed in past hackathons are:

GlobalFX:  A data visualization tool that uses an animated globe to provide forex traders with a visually interactive way to conduct comparative analysis of currencies over a specific time period.

FinCal: A crowdsourced financial calendar that allows users to input and comment on financial events by the currency pairs they anticipate will be affected.

Regression.io: A tool that allows traders to upload any data set they would like to analyze whether there is a correlation between their data and historical currency prices.

2Checkout

2Checkout maximises online sales conversions by giving global buyers localised payment options. It supports transactions in 196 countries and is used by 50, 000 merchants. A leader in payment services, it offers 8 payment methods, 26 currencies and 15 languages making it one of the leading processors of online transactions in the world. The service is simple to implement, including a pre-integrated payment gateway, a merchant account, PCI compliance, international fraud prevention, and plug-ins for 100 of the most popular carts.

Adyen

A global multi-channel payment company, Adyen offers businesses an outsourced payment solution. This lets merchants to accept payments from anywhere in the world and offer a global payment solution for mid, large and enterprise e-commerce merchants. It has over a decade of experience in running high-volume payments systems. The company which is privately owned and profitable realised a 50 million turnover in 2012.

Balanced

This was the first payment system made for marketplaces from the ground up. It offers a feature-rich, completely integrated API that allows marketplaces to charge cards, escrow funds, deposit next day via ACH direct and collect their own marketplace fees.

BancBox

BancBox lets non-financial institutions to collect, store and send money in a simple, secure and compliant manner. The California-based company provides an API-driven approach to help its clients to offer banking services in their applications.

Card.io

The Card.io system offers an SDK to developers and coders that allows inputting credit card information as cool as holding the card in front of one’s smartphone’s camera.

SecurionPay

This company focuses on high risk industries. Stripe does not do much of the dating/games categories so these guys are a good option.

CardFlight

CardFlight permits app developers to easily take in-person payments within their own iOS and Android apps. Its open platform connects mobile app developers with payment processors, focussing on the 90+ percent of credit card payments that happen in real life. Developers use encrypted mag stripe reader and SDK / API so as to easily and securely accept card payments on their apps, with virtual support of any payment processor or merchant account. Users of the service have full control of their integrated app experience without encountering typical complexity of payments integrations.

Coinbase

San Francisco headquarted, Coinbase is bitcoin wallet and exchange service that facilitates exchange between bitcoin and fiat currencies in 26 countries and bitcoin transactions and storage in 190 countries worldwide. Its three core products, an exchange for trading bitcoin and fiat currently, a wallet for bitcoin storage and transactions and an API for developers and merchants to build apps and accept bitcoin payments. The Coinbase Exchange can be funded through a bank transfer or wire, and trades on the exchange have a maker/taker price model.

Fortumo

Founded in 2007 Fortumo lets app and game developers monetize their users through mobile operator billing in more than 80 countries. It offers features like self-service signup and instant activation as well as seamless payment flow.

Invoicera

This online application takes control from traditional pen and paper billing systems. It offers e-invoices to its clients. Its users can send online bills to their clines and can also receive payments the same way. This is good for businesses which have a widespread client base and their payments can be processed on time and at the click of a button through Invoicera.

Judo Payments

This helps businesses across UK to never lose a sale. It offers integrated card payments for mobile apps, provides tools to build a custom mobile payments system for third parties. It aims to make credit and debit card simple and affordable.

 

Credit: Amit at LTP, July 17 2015