Visa and BBVA, two examples of how APIs generate added value to the financial sector

Visa, the manufacturer of debit and credit cards, and the Spanish bank BBVA, are two good examples of the use of APIs for creating an agile and secure banking sector, in areas such as payment methods, fighting risk and fraud, or services to third parties.

BBVAOpen4U
|
10 Jan. 2017

Application programming interfaces are allowing financial institutions to join the agile and real-time banking trend, as demanded by customers. Many companies that now offer banking services have notification APIs. Visa and BBVA are two examples of how these interfaces can generate added value and generate revenue with other companies that need to incorporate their services.

In the end, notification APIs provide companies in the financial sector with some obvious advantages that, in many cases, can be extrapolated to other sectors:

  • Lower costs by reducing the intensive use of other communication and customer relationship channels such as call centers, which are much more expensive than alternatives like notifications. 
  • Trying out new forms of communication through less conventional channels than email or post.
  • Intensifying signing up to other products or services by using notifications, which is a more intimate and personal channel than email or post.
  • Improving the experience and response to customer needs.
  • Rerouting customer traffic to more modern and self-service channels.
  • Process automation.
  • Generating new revenue by providing other companies with data and services to which they would not have access if it were not for the new APIs.

VISA: payments, risk and fraud, data, personalization, etc.

Taking a tour of the service for Visa developers is a journey into the world of APIs. The credit card manufacturer has an application programming interface for each of the areas where it can make money or its customers have needs: payment methods, risk reduction and fighting against bank fraud, data processing and management of analytics and customizing offers, as well as for tests of all kinds. The possibilities are endless.

● Payment methods: within this market, Visa has several powerful APIs. One of them is CyberSource Payments API, which is responsible for creating payment authorization rules in all Visa cards worldwide. In the end it makes secure transactions on the American brand's credit and debit cards, and facilitates reimbursement of any erroneous or irregular transactions.

But within the payments industry, Visa has many other application programming interfaces such as the Funds Transfer API, an interface that is still on its first release and is what enables a sender with an account associated to a card to be able to make a money transfer to a recipient and return it to the sender if it has decided to reject them, regardless of whether it is an Automatic Funds Transfer (AFT) or an Original Credit Transaction (OCT). It also has an API for obtaining all data related to payment transactions with Visa, by integrating Visa Checkout through its JavaScript library. In the end the Visa Checkout API works in a simple way in three steps: the Visa Checkout button is integrated into the front of the website with the corresponding JavaScript events. Once the event has been launched, the user payment information should return to Visa Checkout via the API. The last step updates the payment information at VISA Checkout once that payment has been authorized. The integration of the JavaScript library to operate is done by including the event handler with the API Key in the <head> site: 

<head>
  <script type="text/javascript">
    function onVisaCheckoutReady (){
    V.init({ apikey: "7O07VN664O10JW6A9ESS113p8sf9JeGzr6_2haC9F9m_ANtLM"});
    }
  </script>

● Risk and fraud: in this particular field, Visa has several really interesting APIs. One of the most important is Replace Card API, which is now in its third release. The API allows you to replace a card in a specific community of customers within the file when it is lost, stolen or the card has expired. But in this particular area, APIs especially related to notifications stand out because they can perform many operations that, ultimately, are important to customers, even if they do not interact with these processes:

1) Manage Notifications API v.3: this API allows requests for information through notifications on items such as billing amounts, details of the transaction, the currency of the transaction, trading name, etc.

2 )Third Party Notification Service V3: the API that manages sending push notifications with information on Visa customers for services offered by other companies.

 

3) Visa Travel Notification Service: this API is a typical example of an interface that performs an operation in the background that has an added value to the user experience. In this case the itinerary of a trip is incorporated into the card's information to avoid problems when authorizing transactions in foreign countries or distinguish them from any that may be unforeseen or irregular transactions. The framework of a POST request to this API to add a travel itinerary is as follows: 

// URL

POST
https://sandbox.api.visa.com/travelnotificationservice/v1/travelnotification/itinerary

// Header

Accept: application/json
Authorization: {base64 encoded userid:password}

// Body

{
  "addTravelItinerary": {
    "returnDate": "2019-05-28",
    "departureDate": "2019-05-21",
    "destinations": [
      {
        "state": "CA",
        "country": "840"
      }
    ],
    "primaryAccountNumbers": [
      {
        "cardAccountNumber": "4645191800301234"
      },
      {
        "cardAccountNumber": "4645191800301235"
      }
    ],
    "userId": "Rajesh",
    "partnerBid": "12345678"
  }
}

BBVA: notifications to other companies

In the case of BBVA, there are two APIs that are closely interrelated. Together they are a really interesting package for other companies, especially if they want to offer services involving BBVA customers, such as companies engaged in aggregating banking data across applications in the style of Fintonic, Mooverang, Mint, Monefy or Wally; or subjects related to credit scoring, for example. These two APIs are BBVA Payments API and BBVA Notifications API. The second makes sense with the first because it makes it possible to automate many processes related to third party payments that would be impossible otherwise. It is recommended that Payments customers also sign up to Notifications.

BBVA Payments API offers some really interesting services:

  • It enables third-party users to move money easily, fast and securely: in this case the customer should always confirm a transaction through a code received via SMS on the number validated by the actual customer. Each transaction is protected by this second authentication factor,
  • Periodic transfers: this API enables customers to create periodic transfers. In this case, other companies with their own services could keep this functionality through an app.
  • Improved conversion fee: with BBVA Payments API transfer payments can be accepted in any business. It is obvious that the more customer payment methods offered, the greater the final conversion.

Meanwhile, the BBVA Notifications API provides complementary services to Payments:

  • Information on operations in real time: allows other companies, which provide additional services to BBVA customers, to have the whole operation with this bank in real time in order to be notified to those same customers.
  • Notifications of relevant information: this type of information allows other companies greater personal knowledge of customers, which is a key element if you want to carry out a policy of tailoring the offer.
  • Offers at the right time: the BBVA Notifications API provides relevant information for real-time conversion. That leaves room for other companies to generate a tailored offer with a great conversion value.

Are you interested in financial APIs? Discover all the APIs we can offer you at BBVA

 

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