What is a Payments API?

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) enable the seamless integration of software, making it easier than ever for applications to share data in real-time. When it comes to payments, APIs have transformed the experience, allowing for faster, more secure and lower cost transaction processing. This benefits both Payments businesses and their customers.

Payments APIs are commonly used to:

  • Provide a frictionless checkout experience, capable of offering a range of payment options,
  • Reach customers in new markets without having to forge banking relationships in each territory,
  • Prevent data entry errors (such as those made when typing bank account details) by connecting directly to other APIs in the payment ecosystem,
  • Enable instant settlement, reducing transaction risk for the merchant while improving cash flow,
  • Reduce the risk of fraud and improve security with robust payment authentication features and built in compliance checks,
  • Access real-time data on the status of transactions and other payment information,
  • Simplify regulatory compliance such as PCI, AML and KYC.

The benefits of payments APIs

Good payments APIs are secure, reliable, scalable and flexible. They should be easy for a developer to implement, and provide a seamless user experience.

Payments APIs can be used to instruct single and bulk payments, both one off and recurring, to completely remove manual intervention from the payment process. Additionally, a payments API can provide access to real-time reporting and payment status updates, aiding reconciliation and eliminating the need to track down whether a payment has been received or sent.

Because APIs allow for direct connections to payment infrastructure, operating costs and fees are low. The scalable and flexible nature of APIs mean that developers are able to access and integrate the functionality of a payments API with other applications such as inventory management tools and accounting software to streamline and automate other business processes.

Simplicity is key. Implementation shouldn’t be difficult – some APIs only require a developer to add a snippet of JavaScript to the code of a website meaning that APIs can be deployed very quickly once testing is completed. API design is typically RESTful, which is the most commonly-used, and the ‘API standard’ of web-based services, as it can be used over almost any protocol, meaning that developers do not need to install any other software or libraries.

Payments APIs for developers

For developers, it is important that a payments API has clear documentation and a testing environment (for example, a sandbox) to ensure that everything works as expected before pushing live. If something does go wrong, or if the developer runs into issues when integrating the API with existing platforms, an experienced support team should be available to assist with troubleshooting.

Other factors that developers should be aware of when choosing an API is whether they will be notified if there are problems with uptime, and if they will be given the opportunity to test API updates to make sure that new features do not conflict with the existing integration, resulting in errors when the latest version rolls out.

Banking CIrcle Payments API

Banking Circle’s API is designed to support businesses through direct connection to payment infrastructure for real-time processing.

Just some of the functions that can be performed by accessing the Banking Circle payments API are:

  • Instructing single and bulk paymentsInstructing payment converting currencies to internal and external beneficiaries
  • Creating beneficiaries
  • Requesting real-time status updates on balances and payments
  • Accessing reports in relation to accounts and activity

For more information on our API offerings, visit https://docs.bankingcircleconnect.com/discover-api-offerings

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