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.
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.
Here are some practical tips on how digital financial services providers can build a first-rate developer portal for their APIs.
In this video series, digital financial service provider executives from around the world answer some of the most frequently asked questions about open APIs, drawing on their wealth of experience.