This issue of Payment Solutions News highlights the growth of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): sets of rules and specifications that allow different systems or applications to interconnect. APIs make the functionality of a service (such as a treasury management solution) available in other applications, which can help increase the effectiveness of those applications.
APIs are currently gaining traction in treasury departments in general—and commercial payments operations, in particular—as companies look to integrate disparate systems, realize greater efficiencies and capture transactional intelligence.
The growth of APIs can be attributed to a number of business trends, including the electronification of commercial payments, adoption of new treasury management technologies and greater collaboration among financial institutions, financial technology firms and clients.
The Benefits of APIs
APIs can help clients enhance various aspects of their treasury management and payment systems and processes. Organizations evaluating the value of integrating of APIs are likely to discover the following key benefits:
Implementing APIs can add value to existing systems and applications; because APIs can integrate new capabilities into existing systems, users can easily take advantage of improvements without having to learn a new process.
|Enhancement of the User Experience||APIs allow companies to integrate different applications, which can help improve business processes. Since APIs can eliminate the need for users to switch between different systems or platforms to conduct transactions, users are able to seamlessly perform transactions that require multiple platforms. This ultimately streamlines the user experience and efficiency.|
|Speed and Flexibility||APIs are typically created to enable new experiences using existing payment systems and applications, making the process faster than implementing a new commercial payment solution.|
|Adaptability||Implementing APIs can add value to existing systems and applications; because APIs can integrate new capabilities into existing systems, users can easily take advantage of improvements without having to learn a new process.|
|Improved Workflows||APIs enable businesses to streamline internal workflows by integrating different systems and applications to create a more cohesive experience.|
|Data Accessibility||Because multiple applications and data sources can be integrated through APIs, systems can generate richer transaction data, which can be leveraged via APIs for more informed analysis and decision making.|
PNC and APIs
PNC can help you fully realize the benefits of APIs. We have focused our efforts in three key areas.
1. Creating APIs to Meet Payment Needs
PNC is developing APIs that embed our commercial banking solutions within your applications. The following is a current list of APIs that span the payments lifecycle:
Direct to Debit
Intelligent Payments Routing
|Payables||Invoice Capture and Bill Presentment|
|Verification||Account Verification Services
Routing Number Verification
RTP Services Bank Verification
PNC’s APIs are developed based on feedback from several sources:
- User Preferences: In 2018, PNC surveyed clients on desired functionality within applications and used their feedback to develop our API product roadmap.
- Sales Interactions: PNC sales and service representatives have unique insight into current client needs or challenges and provide valuable feedback to the API product team for potential new APIs.
- Other Internal Sources: PNC also develops APIs in conjunction with our technology teams to provide clients with choices in how they use our treasury solutions.
II. API Thought Leadership
Understanding the opportunity and applicability of APIs is crucial. PNC’s API thought leadership content can be accessed via pnc.com:
- Unlocking the Benefits of APIs: This 34-minute webinar describes APIs, summarizes key benefits and shows how APIs work.
- How APIs Can Help Improve Your Business: This 3-minute video illustrates how APIs can enhance business efficiency and empower new opportunities for improving products, systems and operations.
III. Helping to Develop API Standards
Consistent standards for financial APIs is one of the keys to driving their adoption. To help advance standardization, PNC participates in several industry groups, including:
- Financial Data Exchange (FDX): This nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating standards for providing convenient consumer and business access to their financial data. In March 2020, FDX released the latest version of the FDX API, which acts as an intermediary between integrators (financial institutions) and implementers (aggregators, FinTechs).
- Akoya: An independent company jointly owned by Fidelity, The Clearing House (TCH) and 11 of TCH’s member banks (including PNC), Akoya has developed a standards-based API platform for financial data access that is aligned with the FDX standard.
- SWIFT: PNC participates in a corporate-to-bank API working group at SWIFT, which is seeking to develop global API standards.
- Afinis Interoperability Standards: This Nacha membership-based organization focuses on advancing financial industry standards, including those for APIs.
PNC’s focus on developing new APIs is one part of our ongoing strategy to embrace new technologies for meeting your changing treasury management and commercial payment needs. The following are examples of our ongoing efforts:
- Innovation Lab (iLab) for new product development
- Development of additional functionality into our commercial card suite, including mobile payments, with contactless card functionality to be added in 2021
- ePayments for business-to-consumer transactions
- Launch of Real-Time Payments (RTP) capabilities to receive and originate payments
In this issue of Payment Solutions News, we’ll dive deeper into APIs and PNC’s API offerings, including:
- A description of six of PNC’s APIs – how they work and how they can help improve your treasury management capabilities – in Product Spotlight.
- In Quick Tips, get answers to some of the common questions being asked about APIs.
- Here is a quick scan of the key business trends driving API use in the By the Numbers section.