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
Open APIs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We hope you and your loved ones, your communities and your networks are staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health and economic crises are having far-reaching effects. CGAP's response includes efforts to share lessons on the design of digital government-to-person payments and the importance of cash-in/cash-out infrastructure. We are also supporting the microfinance sector, doing work on customer intelligence and protection, and facilitating knowledge-sharing across the financial inclusion community.

In the face of the pandemic, open APIs from digital financial services (DFS) providers are more important than ever. Open APIs enable businesses to transact online and via mobile devices, and they speed up the creation of new products that might help communities respond to the crisis. We expect markets that enable businesses of all sizes to shift online quicker will be more resilient to the crisis, especially during lockdowns. 

We share this newsletter to help you continue on your journey to opening APIs during these difficult times.

Financial services providers should have the right technologies in place when opening APIs. This deck helps business leaders who are not IT specialists make informed decisions about the technologies supporting their open APIs.  View slide deck >>

Inappropriate technology decisions when implementing open APIs can severely hamper the probability of success. Our latest blog highlights three design principles that business leaders should keep in mind when making technology decisions.  Read post >>

Open APIs pose data protection and privacy challenges. This post offers tips on how DFS providers can address these challenges within the current consent system.  Read post >>

Based on a report developed with law firm Hogan Lovells, " Key Considerations When Developing Legal Terms and Conditions for Financial Services APIs," this post summarizes six issues that an API contract should address and provides a contract template.  Read post >>

The CGAP API Dashboard tracks digital financial services providers' open APIs around the world. The dashboard now catalogs over 350 APIs from Africa, Asia and Latin America.   Explore the dashboard >>
Some of the latest companies to add APIs include:
  • Stripe. Stripe's e-commerce tools are now accessible to businesses in India and are in early access for Brazil. Stripe often sets trends in best practices for engaging with developers. Any DFS provider looking to study successful API models should consider looking at Stripe. Learn more >>

  • Mandiri Bank. With open banking regulations on the horizon in Indonesia, local banks are opening up APIs. Mandiri is one of several Indonesian banks that now has a suite of APIs for payments, account management and loan applications. Learn more >>

This comprehensive report maps mobile money API industry trends, including third-party integration, API design, commercial approach, documentation and communication, testing, security and onboarding process. The report proposes a set of best practices based on observations from the wider financial and payment industry. Read article >>

Based on interviews with leaders at fintechs, small and mid-size banks, and large financial institutions, this report examines the extent to which APIs are meeting their potential to facilitate bank and fintech partnerships that advance financial inclusion. It includes four recommendations on how to improve API deployments between banks and fintechs. Read article >>

The Indian-based API infrastructure provider is hoping to support startups and developers to build new financial services by using Setu's building blocks. At present, they have released APIs to aid payments collection and to enable toll tag payments. Savings and credit application APIs are next on their roadmap. Read article >>

While Mexico's forthcoming fintech regulations are being revised, reforms to open banking regulations have been postponed to the first quarter of 2021, a year after they were first intended to be made available. Read article >>

Payments aggregator Flutterwave has created a new portal that allows merchants to show their inventory and e-commerce products in an online store. 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.