You’ve no doubt heard of application programming interfaces, or APIs. You select seats at movie theaters, concerts, and sporting events through a seating API. A payment API lets you pay for your coffee and car rides without cash or cards.
APIs add speed and convenience to many of the things you do in your everyday life. And they can bring those same benefits to your business.
Every business banks
Two of the fastest growing API categories are payments and financial. The reason is simple: every business makes and receives payments, and every business needs financial information. Bank APIs can make common banking tasks faster and easier.
You check your account balances periodically for cash positioning purposes. An API can keep continuously-updated account balances on your screen at all times. You pay customers, vendors, and employees with batched ACH files. With an ACH API, you can send one-off ACH payments at any time. You accept new customers without knowing for certain that the bank account number provided is valid and belongs to the customer. An account validation API can ensure that it is.
Your bank’s “gateway” gives your technology team access to a library of APIs, which may include:
- Account balance and transaction detail
- ACH and wires payment and status
- Consumer payments pushed to debit cards
- Account validation
- Check image retrieval
- Foreign exchange rates
- And more on the way
The API business profile
Virtually any business can use and afford bank APIs, but businesses that will gain the most from this new banking channel have one or more of these characteristics:
Machine-to-machine focus — If you want to reduce human touch points and errors and maximize the ROI of your technology, APIs put your systems in direct communication with your bank’s systems.
Need for speed — If timing of transactions and information is important, and you want to be able to operate 24 hours a day, APIs make some things happen instantaneously and others very, very quickly. With digital communication, there’s no delay.
High volume — If you issue a high volume of electronic payments, receive a high volume of customer payments or inquiries, or are on a rapid growth track, APIs are a scalable solution that can improve your customer’s experience while reducing your staff’s workload.
No new systems required
Bank APIs are embedded in your existing system – ERP, AP, website, customer portal, or mobile app. You can set them to automatically take action, for instance to automatically send a payment when an invoice is approved. Or you can set them up as “buttons,” such as a button to “send this credit” and another to “find that FX rate.”
Your users don’t need to learn a new system. You don’t need to change your business rules or login process. To integrate APIs into your business, you simply add to what’s already there.
As treasurer, you don’t need to know the details of how APIs work. You just need to look across your processes for pain points that bank APIs can alleviate.
For more information, contact your treasury management representative or fill out the Contact Us form on this site.