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    Digital integration and the member experience: APIs 101

    January 15, 2020

    We hear the word ‘integration’ constantly now -- every sector seems to offer some form of an integrated system – from connected cars to home security systems.

    And you may have heard the word tossed around in the financial services sector (blush). But what can integration offer your credit union? This post explores that question and offers some insight into the benefits of integration.

     

    What enables integration to occur?

     

    The answer is APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, which basically allows two applications to speak to each other. If you’ve ever used a website like Expedia, you’ve experienced providing them with your request for the flight or hotel you want and then quickly getting information back about airline or hotel’s pricing and availability. Let’s look at this experience from an integration perspective:

    • Expedia is the digital experience the consumer goes through to gather their desired information - the interface.
    • The airlines and hotels in this example provide the data stored from their databases to answer your request through Expedia - the databases.

    What we don’t see as consumers is that there’s an API involved in the interaction. Its job is to be a translator between the interface and the databases. It takes our request from Expedia and provides us with an answer using the airline’s and hotel’s information, providing a seamless experience for consumers.

     

    So how does this apply to banking?

     

    In the example above, Expedia is the digital ecosystem that’s enabled when multiple data sources are connected via an API. You can think of Celero Xchange™, our digital integration ecosystem platform, in a similar way. It integrates with various fintech and digital solutions using APIs to enable your credit union to offer new digital experiences to your members, or to improve your back-office efficiency and insight.  Your staff and members aren’t aware they are interacting with a third-party solution because the experience is seamless. Members don’t care about the technology that enables them to do the thing they’re trying to do. To paraphrase Jason Bates from 11:FS, there are few of us that understand how HTML works, but we’re very happy to log into Netflix and watch a movie over the internet. APIs for banking are like the HTML code that powers the internet. They make it easier to do the thing we’re trying to do (pay a bill, get a notification of a transaction that was processed by our debit card), but we don’t have to know how to code in HTML or even know it exists to get that job done.

      

    Celero uses Credit Union Financial Exchange (CUFX) standards set by the U.S.-based Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Technology Council to enable integration between Celero Xchange and APIs. The CUFX standard is important because the solutions that are interacting via APIs need to talk a similar language to transport the data from one system to the other. Since the CUFX standard sets forth a single global standard for data exchange between credit unions and their technology providers, this is what Celero uses to ensure the maximum benefit of open APIs is achieved.

    By using this standard, Celero can streamline integration efforts which means that credit unions are able to leverage many fintech solutions, delivering delightful experiences to credit union members across Canada. An example of this being QCash, a small-dollar, short-term loan solution which was the first solution to be integrated using Celero Xchange.

     

    Want to learn more?

     

    Check out these related insights:

    Celero’s fintech integration solutions

    Why Christian Credit Union can’t live without their business analytics solution

    Barb MacLean chats about Celero's Xchange

    Canadian payday lending: A scary issue for financial institutions

     

    Helpful API Resources:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5a00vyv4U6M

    http://101.apievangelist.com/

    http://101.consume.apievangelist.com/

    http://history.apievangelist.com/

     

     

     

     

     

     

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