Almost every industry conference now carries a mention of application programming interfaces (APIs), but they are far from just another fad. In this era of open banking, APIs are offering treasurers new ways of working, moving away from batch processing into a real-time environment, as well as facilitating more efficient payments, and delivering working capital management benefits. Here, Eleanor Hill, Editor, TMI, cuts through the noise to find out what treasurers really need to know about APIs.
With so much talk about APIs right now, it would be tempting to think they are a new invention. In fact, we’ve been using them, albeit unwittingly, for years – in both our personal and professional lives. If you have ever used a treasury management system (TMS), or any financial system for that matter, you will likely have benefited from API technology beneath the surface. Anyone with a smartphone or a LinkedIn profile will also have used APIs in one form or another.
But if APIs have been around for decades, why are we hearing so much about them now? What’s the big deal from a treasurer’s perspective? And what’s new that’s actually worth knowing about?
What exactly are APIs?
Sometimes, you get beyond the point of being able to ask a basic question – because people assume a certain level of knowledge. But if you’ve never encountered APIs before, or simply aren’t that interested in the mechanics, there’s no reason why you should know how they work.
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