Digital Rails Newsletter
The latest on open APIs for financial inclusion

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

As discussed in this blog, CGAP has worked with global legal experts Hogan Lovells to create in-depth guidance for digital financial services providers on how they can manage key risks of opening APIs through legal terms and conditions. The paper covers popular payment and account information APIs and includes some guidance for addressing risks related to know-your-customer (KYC) APIs. It includes an API terms and conditions template that is free for DFS providers to adapt and use to manage their API consumer relationships.

Nigeria's Paystack has been catalyzing digital payments in a country where 60 percent of people remain financially excluded. In the process, it is showing how open APIs can enable new financial and non-financial use cases for digital payments in developing countries.  Read post >>

Zoona's Bridgid Thomson shares her thoughts on the company's transition from a financial services provider to a platform-first business with partner APIs and open APIs. Zoona's platform approach has already led to the creation of a new enterprise payments service, Tilt.  Read post >>

Learn about the four key outcomes that any digital finance provider's developer portal should strive to achieve. This post puts a payments aggregator's developer portal under the microscope and looks at how it demonstrates best practices.  Read post >>

The CGAP API Dashboard tracks digital financial services providers' open APIs around the world. The dashboard now catalogs over 300 APIs from Africa, Asia and Latin America.   Explore the dashboard >>
Some of the latest companies to add APIs include:
  • Xero. Xero's financial accounting software APIs are currently operational in South Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines, where they allow startups to build new products such as loan calculators or invoice generators connected to small businesses' accounting records. Learn more >>

  • Chargebee. Subscription billing platform Chargebee has focused on a slice of the payments use case: recurring payments. Its APIs are currently available in several countries, including Brazil, India and Mexico. Learn more >>

This webinar, hosted by Partnership for Finance in Digital Africa (FIDA), featured Michel Hanouch, Aiaze Mitha and Niall Saville. Speakers outlined the business benefits of APIs and discussed how best practices were implemented while building the Momo Developer Portal at MTN Uganda. Watch video >>

The UK's financial services regulator is inviting submissions to a consultation on the opportunities and risks of "open finance." Open finance seeks to extend the approaches used by open banking to a larger range of financial services. Open finance "could help widen access to advice and support, boost efficiencies for businesses and access to credit, and spur innovation," says the FCA. Read article >>

This case study details how a large enterprise with multiple independent banks could build a governance structure that encourages common approaches and standards for some elements, like internet banking APIs, and allow autonomy for regional companies within the group to build their own APIs. The secret? A CEO that understands APIs and includes them in all company KPIs when reporting to the group. 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.