“There are few business sectors where BBVA's APIs make no sense”
Alberto González, Product Owner of BBVA API Market, shares the bank's challenges after opening its APIs to third parties. A great step that the bank took after analyzing the needs of its environment and that now places it as key player in the fintech scenario.
“We saw the need to open the bank's APIs to third parties, and this is how API Market came about”, explains Alberto González, Product Owner of BBVA API Market, after sharing his views at the Startups and APIs event organized by CloudAppi. At this event, BBVA presented its API ecosystem, a journey that González says “began in a very agile way by using the scrum development methodology to test things very quickly and find out what the market wanted”.
In a first stage, “the bank listened to the needs and launched a ‘friends and family’ phase where customers and over 200 companies told us what they needed”, says the BBVA representative. In the end, he explains, the bank “stepped outside that comfort zone to open the bank's APIs to the world a few months ago”.
What do companies expect from APIs?
Companies expect from APIs understandable documentation and this is why we have to opt for use cases. This is like a Swiss Army knife, you look at it and you don't really know what you can do with all the blades. We opted to show use cases for different types of companies.
What does API Market offer?
It's a global concept that includes products from the United States and from Spain. Specifically, in Spain we have BBVA Connect, which enables us to Know our Customer; with Customers, once we know who you are we tell you what information we have, we exploit it; Cards uses user credit card information; with Loans we can show a scoring of customers and pre approved loans; Notifications provides notifications to customers, as well as geolocation notifications; Payments and Accounts need no explanation; and PayStats shows aggregate and anonymous data on all cards.
What is the next step?
We are now working with POS terminals for PayStats, to increase our data ratio, and also with CIB APIs. There is a great deal of information we can provide and exploit. We must not forget that the way we buy has changed drastically and our APIs adapt to any challenge.
What business sectors are BBVA's APIs focused on?
I think there are few business sectors where BBVA's APIs make no sense. A BBVA API makes sense anywhere where money is used. For example, Payments if you make transfers, or PayStats as aggregate data when you analyze the competition. It's hard to find a sector where they make no sense.
What will PSD2 mean?
With PSD2 customers own their data. A report by Accenture highlights that most customers (85%) trust banks more than any other company when it comes to using their personal data, and this is another challenge for API Market.
How do regulations and APIs relate?
I think that PSD2 explicitly leads to using APIs. What we will try is to eliminate intermediaries like Visa or MasterCard. If I want to buy an iPhone, the provider I want to buy it from will check my accounts, because I will give it access to them. How do I communicate Amazon with the bank? The only way, and I'm quoting José Manuel de la Chica, is with APIs, which are the glue on the Internet.
APIs make it possible to communicate such different worlds using different programming languages. This is why I think that PSD2 encourages the use of APIs as a way to get information or execute any operation.
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