Posted by Mark Ranta on 12 Feb 2021
In Lesson 1, we discussed how microservices and APIs are integral to payments digital acceleration. Having an API strategy allows ecosystem participants to easily connect to one another, as well as build workflows and new solutions that take the best available ‘service.’ This frees the organization from having to get everything from one provider. Here, we will discuss two API prefixes we see regularly, RESTful and Open, and what they mean to your strategy.
“A RESTful API is an architectural style for an application program interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to access and use data.” In other words, it’s an architectural style for communications often used in web services developments. Simply put, it’s the language of the web.
RESTful APIs are not a new concept per se. However, RESTful APIs are dominating the integration market today—they are the “glue” that brings everything in our space together. It uses less bandwidth, which is ideal for efficient internet usage and hence cloud services.
Taking the API discussion one level higher, we reach “Open APIs.” “An open API, also called public API, is an application programming interface made publicly available to software developers. Open APIs are published on the internet and shared freely, allowing the owner of a network-accessible service to give universal access to consumers.”
Open APIs are designed to be exposed to external developers who can easily integrate them into their applications with minimal interaction with the API owner. They are simple and easy to understand, meaning you don’t need to be a payments expert to leverage a payments API. An example of this would be the STRIPE checkout API. It’s simple, easily understood by the developer, and can be built directly into another application without complicated back-and-forth between the organizations.
The main question for any financial institution should be how ‘open’ their organization wants to be with their API strategy. Whether you only expose your APIs to internal developers, enable permission access to selected partners, or go fully open is really a personal question unique to each business. But having an API strategy in place as you start the journey is the first step!
Alacriti offers an API First and Microservices based architecture on a cloud-based platform, Orbipay, with solutions for real-time payments, EBPP, and digital disbursements. This provides a flexible integration framework to enable easy integration with internal systems (core banking, fraud, risk management, etc.), and your organization can easily add support for new payment schemes as they become available.