Last week I had the pleasure to be back in London for the first edition of the APIDays in the city and dedicated to banking and FinTech – two novelties to the event which made it a must! The APIDays are top conferences for anyone in the field of APIs. Their founder Mehdi Medjaoui has a strong network of great speakers which ensures quality content at every event.
But what was special about this first banking edition?
Banking APIDays LDN 2015
First, it was taking place at Level39, an accelerator located on the 39th floor of a building in Canary Wharf. A very cool place with an amazing sight from the conference room.
But the really interesting point was to see at the same place both startups trying to disrupt the online payment industry and traditional actors feeling overwhelmed by the digital world and trying to cope with the innovations from the past years.
It was the perfect place for me to explain to the crowd what we at PAYMILL are doing to contribute to the FinTech innovations and the bright future we foresee for online merchants and SaaS editors when it comes to their payment needs.
The topics ranged from Bitcoin to the technique behind the magic flexibility of payment service providers a.k.a. PSPs (e.g. how can we build payment workflows without redirects? How can we unify various payment methods through only one API?).
Finally I shared thoughts and ideas with great people and came back home with the feeling that we still have lots of ground to cover. How exciting is that! And in case you missed my talk, here are my slides from the event.
Key takeaways from apidays london
The importance of developers
During the past year a lot of startups emerged in the field of online payments, with most of them providing clean and complete APIs.
For a long time, integrating payments was a nightmare for any developer but now it’s as simple as plugging in any service via a REST API. PSPs delivering easy to integrate solutions has emerged as a trend which has been a result of the growing importance developers have in the decision process when choosing technical solutions.
In other words, any company wanting to gain market share in the payment industry needs to seduce developers first – as they are the ones who will be integrating and working with the API.
David vs Goliath?
It might seem that newcomers are trying to eat the cake of traditional banking institutions. But in fact they are serving the needs of merchants and services providers who are in need of a flexible and fast time-to-market solution.
The current actors still have an importance in the process but seem to fall short of keeping up with technology trends and innovations in the industry.
But instead of competing against each other, startups and financial institutions should rather work together to move things forward at a faster pace.
Standardisation or not?
An interesting point raised during a talk was whether or not there should be a standardised API for online banking.
On one hand this would make integrating payment solutions even faster and ensure a common set of functionalities and consistency of how transactions are processed.
However on the other hand there’s an important downside. This would dramatically harm the development of innovations – as any new feature would have to wait for the standard to evolve. It would also make the competition almost impossible between the different actors. And let’s not forget innovation is driven by competition.
Therefore it’s better to focus on the standardisation of the API format (like JSON API for example) rather than the services themselves.
Check it out yourself
If you’re interested in online payments, APIs or both, I highly recommend you attend the 2016 edition or even any other APIDays event. In the meantime feel free to check out PAYMILL’s REST API for accepting credit and debit card payments.
Sketchnote courtesy of @jacqsadriano