API Strategy

An open APIs business strategy can enable digital financial service providers to compete in a complex market and grow into new customer segments, while offering more innovative services to low-income households.

When APIs are first introduced into a provider’s business, they are often used as a technical solution to solve a particular challenge, such as the need for faster partner onboarding or to more easily reuse components across channels (USSD, mobile apps, web). But if these APIs are then opened to a wider network of stakeholders, they can become a strategic investment that helps a company increase the number and reduce the cost of integrations, diversify its product range, monetize previously underutilized assets, and strengthen its customer base.

CGAP’s work on API strategies focuses on:

  • How to create an API team composed of business and technical leadership
  • Taking a stepwise open API approach to ensure organizational learning of new business models
  • How to prioritize which capabilities and business services to open as APIs

Open API Strategy Resources


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.
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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.