Digital Rails Newsletter
The latest on open APIs for financial inclusion

Photo by Surah Deogratius 2018 CGAP Photo Contest
Digital Rails is a semi-regular newsletter created to help digital financial services providers, fintechs and start-ups keep up with the latest news, resources and events related to open APIs for financial inclusion. Please pass this newsletter on to colleagues who may be interested in subscribing
New Publication | API Pricing for Digital Financial Services Providers: Getting Started

Within a digital financial services (DFS) provider, the business units charged with opening up APIs to third parties are often placed  in a bind. There can be pressure to generate revenue from APIs immediately. Yet before third parties can build new products using the provider's APIs, they need access to affordable APIs so they can test their products in the market, prove there is a market-fit and build a viable customer base.

Based on CGAP's work with project partners and pricing consultants Simon Kucher & Partners, API Pricing for Digital Financial Services Providers: Getting Started is a concise, practical guide for DFS providers who are trying to navigate these  challenges.  It shows providers how to devise successful pricing strategies that achieve three goals:  
  1. Support specific business objectives 
  2. Generate business value for target API consumer segments
  3. Align with (or modify) market expectations and norms for pricing 
As the guide explains, pricing models for digital finance open APIs are in their infancy. This often means that defining a pricing strategy requires a dynamic approach that evolves as you learn from the usage patterns of various third-party API consumer segments. Read publication >>

Join Us for a Webinar on API Pricing

From 10 - 11 a.m. (US ET), May 9, we will share practical insights from the "API Pricing for Digital Financial Services Providers: Getting Started" publication. Guest speakers Cedric N'Guessan of MTN and Martin Janzen of Simon-Kucher & Partners will also offer their perspectives on common API pricing challenges and solutions. We hope you'll join us!

Building Open APIs for Digital Finance? Think Sprints, Not Marathon

As some DFS providers are learning, traditional software development approaches aren't often ideal for building open APIs. Paul Reynolds and Joep Roest share an alternative, more "agile" approach that providers should consider. Read post >>

You've Opened APIs . . . Now What?

You've launched your open APIs. It's only a matter of time until developers start using them, right? Wrong. CGAP Open API Advisory Committee Member Shamir Karkal, who builds developer tools at API platform Sila, explains why it's so important to have a go-to-market strategy and provides tips for developer outreach.  Read post >>

Open APIs Dashboard Now Covers More than 200 APIs

The CGAP API Dashboard tracks DFS providers' open APIs around the world. The dashboard recently reached a milestone by cataloging more than 200 APIs relevant to financial inclusion. The APIs span Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.  Explore the dashboard >>
Some of the latest companies to add APIs include:
  • Sila. A new suite of APIs are being launched by a startup co-founded by CGAP Open API Advisory Committee Member Shamir Karkal. Initial APIs will allow identity verification and internal U.S. payment transfers, but future APIs will expand to smart contracts and more payment options. Learn more >>
  • Hyperverge. We are starting to see providers offer new identification products. Hyperverge has built facial recognition know-your-customer (KYC) APIs that providers are starting to use in India and Vietnam. Learn more >>
The Platform Play: How to Operate Like a Tech Company

McKinsey has come out with a deep dive that looks at the importance of the IT team taking a "mission control" approach to APIs that relies on standard ways of working and using technology, and that empowers developers to advance business goals. Read article >>
Clickatell Helps MTN South Africa Launch Chat Commerce on WhatsApp

We are now seeing businesses in Africa starting to use the WhatsApp Pay API in their businesses to expedite purchases and service subscriptions. Read article >>
Nigerian Fintech Startup OneFi Acquires Payment Company Amplify

This article looks at the motivations behind OneFi's purchase of Amplify and its roadmap for APIs across Africa. It also includes a map of some of the emerging fintech in the region. Read article >>

CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) is a global partnership of over 30 leading organizations that seek to advance financiala inclusion. CGAP develops innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with financial service providers, policy makers, and funders to enable approaches at scale. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP combines a pragmatic approach to responsible market development with an evidence-based advocacy platform to increase access to the financial services the poor need to improve their lives.