Sending money, transferring funds, and managing finances have been revolutionized by digital technology. What used to require physical forms and paperwork in the bank is now carried out via an app. Nowadays, we can send money domestically or internationally using electronic software and digital applications.
One of the big technological advances in this area has been the application programming interface (API). Money transfer APIs make it possible to securely send money to other users, no matter where in the world these users are based.
But what is a money transfer API, really? Why is this such an important idea in the world of financial technology? Read on to learn more.
Understanding money transfer APIs
APIs are already one of the cornerstones of the modern financial marketplace, and this is going to be the case long into the future. It's certainly important to understand what they are, why they are used, and how they can be implemented. So let's explore this in a bit more detail.
What is an API?
At the very heart of a money transfer API is a three-letter acronym — API, or application programming interface. So what is this API, and why is it so useful for monetary transfers?
An API is basically an intermediary between two computers or computer systems. It forms a secure gateway via which the computers or systems can communicate with one another according to a strictly controlled set of rules.
We can see examples of this in any application that interacts or integrates with another. One application or piece of software might request data from another — the other application does not want to allow complete access to data from an external party, so communication and data sharing are handled via the API. The needs of both applications are met without compromising security.
Today, APIs are one of the key building blocks of the digital landscape. They are relatively simple pieces of code, but they make a big difference in terms of security and interoperability.
APIs and money transfer
So how does this translate to money transfers? What is a money transfer API, exactly? A money transfer API takes the secure interface discussed above and uses it as a way to confirm a monetary transfer.
Above, we discussed how applications need to share data with one another. This is a vital part of a modern transfer of funds from bank account to bank account. During the transaction, the user's identity and banking details need to be confirmed and verified. Otherwise, the transaction can't take place — the API handles this data, taking care of confirmation and verification so that the transaction can get underway.
APIs are designed in such a way that communication is tightly controlled. Information is only delivered to the user applications that require it, and is shielded from all others.
This might sound like a simple solution — and that's because it is. With just a bit of coding, financial services providers and banking institutions have been able to revolutionize the way they handle transfers. Basically, if you have transferred money or handled a payment over the last few years, it was probably executed via an API.
The Benefits of API money transfers
What are the advantages of using a money transfer API? Why has the financial technology world fallen for this coding structure in such a big way? Let's take a look at some of the key benefits.
The API code features a variety of security measures and elements that are intended to block access to unauthorized personnel. Applications use cryptic methods to communicate with one another across the interface, and a private API key is required to gain access.
It is almost impossible for hackers to break into an API in this way, and this is critical in financial services. This means APIs are also useful in helping businesses hit the regulatory compliance requirements expected of them in their industry.
APIs are easy for coders to create and implement. They are also very easy to use, facilitating straightforward monetary transfers with no hassle and stress for the user.
This is largely because much of the process is automated. The interface enables access to all the data required to complete the transfer, and only this data. In addition, only the relevant entities can access this data. The need for human interaction is reduced, and the process becomes highly convenient without compromising on security. All this convenience has made money transfer APIs a popular choice in recent years.
Monetary APIs are highly capable pieces of coding, and they may be used to support many different types of transactions. Tech advancements like cryptocurrency may have outpaced some aspects of the financial landscape, but digital currencies like these are well suited to transfer via an API. While crypto is controversial and not broadly accepted, this does demonstrate the scope and potential of a solution like a money transfer API.
While market dominance has happened because of other factors — i.e., customers enjoy the security and convenience of money transfer apps, and this has helped APIs become the most popular option in the market — it's still something to consider.
APIs have become so fundamental to the financial services landscape that it's basically impossible to engage with financial technology without using an API. This means application programming interface technology is certainly going to have a big role to play in the future.
Traditionally, it takes a long time to clear a transaction. In the past, it would have taken several days or even weeks to complete a money transfer — and methods that require up to three working days are still common.
Money transfer APIs are much faster than this. The transfer can be completed over a much shorter time frame, as all the necessary information is made available instantaneously. In the modern age — when speed and convenience are highly valued — this is a significant advantage.
A better experience all around
Money transfer APIs provide an excellent experience to all stakeholders, helping all parties to achieve their aims in a simple and straightforward manner.
For the end user, funds are sent and received quickly, and backed up with high levels of security.
For business owners, cash flow is enhanced and customer loyalty is secured. Regulatory compliance is also easy to achieve, thanks to improved levels of security.
For all users, relationships are improved simply because all the different user needs are being met. Money transfer APIs help to bring about a more harmonious atmosphere in the retail and financial services landscape.
The smartphone or mobile device is the symbol of our times. It provides powerful computing power, along with handheld convenience, and it is the perfect technology for financial services and monetary transfers.
APIs are also an important part of mobile technology, as it is these interfaces that enable mobile apps to interact with one another. As such, APIs make it possible for mobile cash apps and money transfer software to work, supporting the communication and interaction these apps need to provide reliable services to their users.
Support different transaction types
Modern retail and financial services are highly flexible, highly agile industries that change and evolve quickly. This means money transfer technology needs to be able to evolve in the same way, bringing together a range of transaction types and supporting effective results for all of them.
Money transfer APIs support a variety of use cases. For example, users can use these interfaces to pay recurring bills or to send one-off payments. They can also utilize these solutions to complete peer-to-peer transfers between friends, family members, or other individuals to make retail payments. These retail payments are possible online via a payment gateway or in person with a physical point-of-sale terminal. Basically, the possibilities are almost endless with a money transfer API.
Ready for digital transformations
Digital transformation is a big part of modern business. Essentially, this means organizations need to be able to develop new capabilities and change their operational structure over time, taking advantage of new opportunities as and when they arise. This is only possible with the kind of flexibility that digital solutions provide.
This immediately makes money transfer APIs an attractive option. Old-fashioned methods of transfer are not compatible with modern digital technology and will have to be overhauled completely during a digital transformation process. APIs, on the other hand, are designed with universality and interoperability in mind. When new technology becomes available, it should still be able to interact with existing structures via the API. This means businesses are almost future-proofed by money transfer API technology.
How money transfer APIs work with cash applications
There are lots of different payment apps out there, each designed to make it easy to send money from one person to another. Most of these apps — including the most popular examples on the market – will involve some sort of API integration.
So how does this work? What exactly is the role of a money transfer API within a cash application?
Peer-to-peer transfers — also known as P2P — have become a popular method of transferring money to friends, family members, or another individual. As the user is sending money actively from their account, there is no real need for access permissions or other clearing. So, what is the money transfer API doing?
The transfer still needs to be verified and confirmed, and this means information has to be shared securely and reliably. This is a big part of the money transfer API's role in this sort of transaction. Without APIs, the seamless cash transfers we are used to would not be possible.
APIs also work with smart contracts and other pieces of digital fintech. With a smart contract, transfers are handled automatically whenever the predefined conditions are met. This eliminates much of the stress and uncertainty regarding monetary transfers. Smart contracts also support transfers of cryptocurrency and other digital assets.
How money transfer APIs work with international transfers
The world is becoming increasingly connected. Business relationships, and even personal relationships, are becoming ever more globalized as individuals of all backgrounds live international lives. Of course, this means money transfers need to become internationalized too.
In the past, sending money internationally was a struggle. Users had to submit account information and wait a long time for the transaction to be processed.
Today, things are different. What a money transfer API does is remove the human elements of confirming the transaction and instead handles this automatically. The banking applications can communicate across the API, and all the relevant information is shared and confirmed. This means account details, identification information, Business Identifier Code (BIC), International Bank Account Number (IBAN), and other pieces of information are shared and verified so that the transaction can be approved.
Reach out to our team — or sample the demo version of Runa today
Do you need a way to provide rewards payments? Are you looking for a way to enhance engagement for your customers? If so, Runa is the answer you need. We provide a winning platform that drives success for your programs through instant payouts.
Runa brings together a variety of payment management and reward disbursement options, as well as gift card solutions. Our platform provides what you need to elevate your strategy, so reach out to our team and find out what we can do for you today. Take a tour of our platform with a free demo.