River view, Myanmar. Photo by Phyu Aye Pwint, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest Photo by Phyu Aye Pwint, 2017 CGAP Photo Contest
Connecting digital financial services to a wider digital world

An application programming interface (API) allows one software program to “talk” with another. APIs enable a wide range of innovative products and services that millions of people use every day. For instance, APIs are what make it possible for ride-hailing apps to leverage other companies’ mapping and payments systems. Sometimes companies create an API for a single or small number of partners. When a financial services provider “opens” its APIs, it makes them widely available for other companies to consume. For example, a digital payments provider could open APIs to enable a whole range of e-commerce companies to plug seamlessly into its payments system. If done right, open APIs generate revenue for the provider and accelerate innovation in the marketplace that benefits low-income customers, as explained in the short videos below.


Why Has Your Business Pursued an Open API Strategy?

Executives from digital financial services providers in emerging markets explain why they’re convinced that open APIs present significant business opportunities for their companies.

How Do Open APIs Benefit Low-Income Customers?

Open APIs may be good for business, but what do they have to do with financial inclusion? They could be game-changers, according to CGAP CEO Greta Bull and others.
Practical tools and resources for providers considering open APIs

CGAP is working to understand how open APIs can benefit digital financial services providers while advancing financial inclusion. Drawing on best practices in other industries and pilots with several digital financial services providers, we are developing a suite of resources to assist providers with creating and implementing a successful open API strategy. Our resources include a global tracker of financial services providers’ APIs, case studies of providers who have opened APIs, and compact guides on pricing, developer outreach, and other aspects of an open APIs project. See our latest resources below or explore the full collection by clicking on the tabs above.

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How Paystack’s APIS Are Enabling Entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Paystack's open APIs for digital payments are helping thousands of African companies to launch new business models and deepen customer relationships.

Digital Finance APIs Come with Risks

Digital financial services providers can manage risks associated with open APIs by adopting standardized legal contracts with partners and third parties. Here are six key issues that a contract should clarify, along with a contract template.

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