API Products

The business capabilities and data that a digital financial services provider makes available through open APIs can be considered products for a new class of customer: partners and third-party developers. Through APIs, third parties integrate with a provider’s business to create new applications for shared customers and can extend a provider’s reach into new markets. They become part of an extended value chain that brings new direct and indirect revenue opportunities to the provider.

As such, when providers make APIs available to partners and external developers, they should treat APIs like products designed to meet the needs of customers. In the early stages, API customers need access to sandbox environments for testing API functionality before signing up, self-service registration, clear pricing and terms of use contracts, and a range of resources to speed up product development. Once developers obtain an API and start building solutions, they need ongoing support for troubleshooting. They also need to be able to maintain their product's availability to the customer base they share with the provider.

For many providers, APIs bring a new type of customer relationship. APIs are often released in an iterative cycle, moving from a small beta offering to a commercial product over time. This process allows providers to gain feedback from early adopters to better match the functionality of open APIs with market need. By communicating regularly with developers early in the release cycle, providers can get a better sense of the products that external developers want to create with their APIs. They can then work with this new customer segment to identify the best revenue streams and business models.

In the area of API products, CGAP provides resources focused on:

  • How to reach out to external developers
  • Best practices among DFS providers and the wider payments-related industry for managing a developer portal
  • Facilitating engagement with partners and external developers through self-service developer resources
  • Putting metrics in place to measure adoption trends and to compare against industry benchmarks

Publications

18 April 2017
By opening up their payments platforms to third parties—such as financial technology companies, software developers, startups, and digital banks—providers can open the door to the development of innovative products that can be brought to market quickly.
Download PDF: 
English (36 pages)

From Our Blog

21 May 2018
To entice third-party app developers to innovate with APIs, digital financial services providers should start thinking of developers as customers and provide the right kinds of resources.
24 October 2017
Payments providers can grow revenues by allowing third-parties to create apps that leverage digital payment platforms, but the potential for reward comes with risk. Taking a "maturity model" approach can help providers avoid common pitfalls.