Open API Offers Major Benefits for Mobile Payments

The mobile payments space has exploded in recent years, with no end in sight. The potential is obvious: By embracing mobile payments, businesses in a huge range of industries can make it much easier for consumers to spend money on their products and services. As smartphones and tablet use continues to increase, the value of accommodating consumers' preferences and delivering convenience skyrockets.

As mobile payments grow in popularity, the number of solutions providers is similarly expanding. While this presents major opportunities, it also highlights the need for more competitive policies and practices. With this in mind, one of the most important priorities for any firm in this sector should be flexibility and the potential for integration. Both of these considerations make open APIs tremendously useful for mobile payments solutions.

"The real question is not whether to make integration a high-level focus, but rather how."

Open API benefits
We discussed the need for integration among mobile payments solutions in a recent blog post. There, we emphasized that a well-integrated mobile payment offering delivers far more value and greater capabilities for business users. If the solution is integrated, an organization can easily link its mobile payments to existing account software, business intelligence tools, customer reward programs and more. This allows a given firm to maximize the return on its investment.

For those organizations that provide mobile payment solutions, or that are developing their own in-house apps featuring payment capabilities, the real question is not whether to make integration a high-level focus, but rather how.

This is where open APIs enter the picture. At its core, the API determines how software components interact. Open APIs, as the name suggests, provide developers with relatively deep access to the application program in a way that typical APIs do not. This makes mobile payment solutions that feature open APIs far more accessible than their counterparts.

This has significant implications in the realm of mobile payments. Most importantly and obviously, a mobile payment solution that features open APIs can more easily integrate with an organization's other applications. These programs can interact with one another and share data. This is critical for delivering the kind of performance that companies need to truly benefit from mobile payment adoption.

Additionally, mobile payment solutions with open APIs invite third-party developers to create new applications that can further enhance the value and utility of the offering in new, unexpected ways.

Open APIs create many opportunities.Open APIs create many opportunities.

A developing trend
The introduction of open APIs into the realm of mobile payments is not an entirely new development. Notably, PayPal introduced open APIs back in 2009. As PC World reported at the time, PayPal explicitly took this step to expand functionality and the availability of its mobile payment services.

The factors that motivated PayPal to take this step in 2009 remain compelling today. In fact, the growing diversity and expansion of the mobile landscape has made such an approach more valuable than ever before. For every organization interested in mobile payments, open APIs are an important consideration.