PYMNTS consulted 21 payments executives from across the industry to share their insights on the biggest takeaways from 2016 as part of the “Payments 2016, The Year Of…” eBook. We posed the same question to each executive:
If you had to answer the question, Payments was the year of …, how would you answer, and how does your answer change your world — and the world of payments, more broadly?
Here is the response from Mark Ranta, CTP, head of digital banking channels for ACI Worldwide…
Payments 2016: The Year Of Open APIs
Just about every other topic that is likely to come up had momentum going into the year, so the clear winner for me is open APIs. The payment world as a whole was not widely discussing PSD2 or open banking at the end of 2015, and now it’s hard to be at a conference or event and not hear about those or the broader context of what open APIs mean to the payments industry (about every five seconds).
What makes the open API discussion different from many of the trends we talk about is that it is made up of two equal parts: organizational mentality and technology. The idea of working in an open ecosystem — sharing ideas/best practices and enabling innovation to occur outside of the financial institution’s walls — is almost as important as the APIs themselves. In terms of the technology, APIs are not new; they have been used for quite some time to create distinct and defined integration points between applications. As such, APIs have been at the heart of mobile payments, geo location services and personal financial management tools, among other key areas, for years.
The exciting change in the technology is taking those points and exposing them for broader and potentially unknown use cases. This can happen on a few levels; the most conservative route is to expose those APIs internally for teams to go off and develop new offerings by stitching applications together differently, never exposing those APIs beyond the walls of the institution. The most potential, however, is through exposing those APIs to a developer community, allowing a large pool of thinkers and tinkerers to build on top of today’s solutions to create new experiences.
We are seeing the beginnings of this today, both in the U.S. and abroad, with many organizations opening up developer portals or joining open banking working groups — either by choice or by regulation. As the industry comes together to create a new ecosystem driven by collaboration, I believe we are going to see a Big Bang-esque acceleration of innovation, and we’ll be able to thank open APIs when we do.
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