Las mejores APIs de pagos móviles: desde PayPal a Stripe, Square o Dwolla

The best APIs for mobile payments: from PayPal to Stripe, Square and Dwolla

Mobile payments are today a scenario where financial institutions, smartphone manufacturers, e-commerce giants and mobile telephone operators are all vying with each other. Here are four of the best APIs in this competitive market. 

06 Sep. 2017

Denys Prykhodov /

Mobile payments are today the setting for one of the most intense battles the business world has seen in recent years. Numerous banks, cellphone manufacturers, e-commerce giants and mobile telephony operators have launched solutions or entered agreements with other players to assure themselves of a slice of the pie, although it is more a question of the future than the present. PayPal, Stripe, Square and Dwolla are four practical examples of this ambition. But there are more. In all these cases, most of these aspirations are based on the success of their APIs. 

1.    PayPal

PayPal and Vodafone announced at the last Mobile World Congress that the giant payments gateway's system would be incorporated into Vodafone Wallet, the telecommunications company's wallet, for all its customers in Spain. Thanks to this agreement, users can now make any payment with an Android smartphone in physical stores against the balance in their PayPal accounts without any type of fee, in a total of 710,000 businesses. Vodafone is to some extent exploiting the penetration of PayPal to make its mobile payments system more accessible, while PayPal, on the other hand, offers an added service to all its users.

PayPal's mobile payments journey started before this alliance in 2016. As far back as September 2013, eBay decided to acquire Braintree for 800 million dollars. The transaction by the e-commerce giant occurred because it was convinced even then that the synergies between PayPal and Braintree were enormous. eBay was not the only one after that transaction –Square was bidding at the same time. Braintree is a platform that enables payments to be accepted via a mobile app or a website, thus replacing the traditional payment gateway system.  

Braintree has a SDK known as, available for all kinds of platforms and programming languages: JavaScript, iOS and Android on the client side; and Ruby, Python, PHP, Node.js, Java and .NET syntax on the server side. In countries where it is not available, the developers and retailers who wish to integrate mobile payments with PayPal can use their REST API , based on HTTP calls, for payments, returns transactions, authorization processes and others. Braintree is integrated via two methods: 

A drop-in adding a small line of code and activating support for PayPal through Braintree's control panel. Code fragment: 

braintree.setup("CLIENT-TOKEN-FROM-SERVER", "dropin", {

  container: "dropin-container"

A personalized user interface through the API for web and apps. 

2. Square

Square is one of the current benchmarks for mobile payments in the US. Its founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, is better known in the rest of the world for being the co-founder of the social network Twitter. Square has a set of fairly comprehensive APIs to articulate a competitive offer for retailers and users. It currently has two versions of a REST API based on HTTP calls: a v.1. which has features such as the retailer's deposit history, management of online orders or inventory; and a v.2. with online payment processing, management of customer information, recovery of the transaction history, and processing of returns by the retailer.

Square's APIs have several libraries in different programming languages: PHP, Ruby, Python and .NET. Among the most important of these is an API to manage payments related to e-commerce (e-commerce API) and another that facilitates communication with both iOS and Android devices so payments can be made in person (Register API).

3. Stripe

Stripe's application programming interface is a REST API based on HTTP requests (GET, PUT, POST, DELETE) which returns elements in JSON format. In any case, Stripe's API has several libraries in different programming languages, each one with specific features: server-side libraries in Ruby, Python, PHP, Java, Node.js, Go; and libraries for different operating systems like iOS and Android. It also has third-party plugins for content management systems like Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress and e-commerce platforms like PrestaShop, Magento and OpenCart.

Stripe's API is one of the most highly rated by developers, largely because of its vast possibilities in terms of mobile user experience. One of its latest launches is the set of APIs known as Relay, a solution that seeks to equal the penetration of smartphones and the volume of e-commerce purchases in these devices. Stripe understands that although mobile use is extremely widespread, commerce from mobile devices is far less so due to the unpleasantness of the user experience.

Relay allows developers to create in-app user interfaces so products can be purchased directly –for example, in a social network like Twitter– rather than being expelled to third-party websites, which is very inconvenient.

4. Dwolla

Dwolla is a platform that allows monetary transactions to be made through personal bank accounts, a significant difference from other mobile payment solutions in which sums of money are exchanged between credit cards. This is known as ACH transfers or payments –electronic transactions involving funds between banks and credit unions via the Automated Clearing House. The idea is that consumers can make payment transactions with retailers through an account number and a bank routing number

Dwolla's API has two versions (version 1 and version 2), extensive documentation for developers and several SDKs for numerous programming languages: Ruby, Node.js, PHP, Python and Java. Like all REST APIs it is based on HTTP requests that return elements in the JSON format. The whole authentication process with Dwolla's API is done via an OAuth protocol.

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