Technology Banking
finance | 2 minute read

How will APIs change banking?

Secil Watson, head of Digital Solutions for Business at Wells Fargo, on how application programming interfaces (APIs) are revolutionizing the future.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s software code that allows two independent systems to communicate with each other. And it’s not new. It’s been around for many years in different forms, written in different coding languages. APIs are everywhere. Billions of APIs run the services every one of us uses over the internet. An example is an e-commerce app that uses the Google mapping API to display store locations. The mapping API is embedded in the code we all use while shopping.



At Wells Fargo we have several APIs in production and in the build stage and many, many more in development. Some of the APIs in production are in the payment space, such as ACH and foreign exchange APIs. Other APIs enable sharing information. Our locations API is one example: it lets customers see branch and ATM locations, including special details such as notary or foreign currency services available or various languages spoken at that location, in real time.

One of the things we’re very excited about is how quickly we can develop APIs and put them to market. Our speed allows us to partner well with our customers, and co-develop and pilot APIs that truly address our customers’ needs.



I am seeing a drive to accommodate traditional banking services in new ways through API channels. One example is our push to card API, which allows a company to send a payment using the debit card rails to their consumer’s account in near real time. For example, an insurance company can pay out a claim directly to their customer’s debit card, which happens very quickly, and in doing so, score high on customer experience.



APIs allow companies to work much faster to develop a better customer experience. Let’s take the example of a company that wants to inform customers about payments having posted. The company can use our image retrieval API and embed it into their CRM solution, and immediately address their customers’ needs via their customer service representatives. Instead of having to make requests of the accounting department, or give special access to certain accounts for visibility, the company can respond to customer requests right from their customer relationship management team that is fielding the requests. That’s one example of what an API can do. Rather than build a whole new system, a company can use an API from a bank or another company to create best-of-breed solutions.

One of our visions at Wells Fargo is to ensure payments are embedded into the experience of the end consumer, so that they’re seamless. And to get to the seamless experience we really have to be where our customers are. We need to make sure that our payment and reporting functionalities are provided right there within the experience other companies create, so that it is transparent and instant for the end user.

We think of cross border flows the same way we think about domestic payments. It’s the same technology that enables both. It’s about finding the right business cases, the right end consumer benefits to make the solutions materialize. Today we are thinking a lot about the information around the transaction. For example, even if an international ACH transaction is not real time, we can provide APIs around the ACH status. The status API can be an add-on to the way we partner with global companies.

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Disclosures

Securities Products:

Not Insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency

May Lose Value

Not a Deposit of or Guaranteed by a Bank or Any Bank Affiliate

©2018 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Deposits held in non-U.S. branches are not FDIC insured.

Wells Fargo Securities is the trade name for the capital markets and investment banking services of Wells Fargo & Company and its subsidiaries, including but not limited to Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, a member of NYSE, FINRA, NFA and SIPC, Wells Fargo Prime Services, LLC, a member of FINRA, NFA and SIPC, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and Wells Fargo Prime Services, LLC are distinct entities from affiliated banks and thrifts.

© 2018 Wells Fargo Capital Finance. All rights reserved. Products and services require credit approval. Wells Fargo Capital Finance is the trade name for certain asset-based lending services, senior secured lending services, accounts receivable and purchase order finance services, and channel finance services of Wells Fargo & Company and its subsidiaries.

Wells Fargo & Company conducts business outside the U.S. through various companies, including duly authorized and regulated subsidiaries and affiliates in Asia, Canada, and Latin America. In Europe, banking services are provided through Wells Fargo Bank International (WFBI), directly regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. London Branch, authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. All products and services may not be available in all countries. Each situation needs to be evaluated individually and is subject to local regulatory requirements.

We provide links to external websites for convenience. Wells Fargo does not endorse and is not responsible for their content, links, privacy or securities policies.

Important notice regarding use of cookies: By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies as described in our Digital Privacy and Cookies Policy.

The opinions expressed in this document are general in nature and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or association. Contact your banker, attorney, accountant or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Wells Fargo Capital Finance or any other Wells Fargo entity.

The information in this report is for educational purposes only and should not be used or construed as financial advice or a recommendation to participate any strategy mentioned herein. Wells Fargo does not guarantee that the information supplied is complete, undertake to advise you of any change in its opinion, or make any guarantees of future results obtained from its use. The concepts discussed in the paper require the assistance of qualified legal counsel and tax advisors, and investors should consult their own attorneys and tax advisors with respect to their own situations.

  1. Silicon Valley Top 150 2017 Silicon Valley Top 150 Public Technology Companies Rankings by Annual Revenue

Disclosures

Securities Products:

Not Insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency

May Lose Value

Not a Deposit of or Guaranteed by a Bank or Any Bank Affiliate

©2018 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Deposits held in non-U.S. branches are not FDIC insured.

Wells Fargo Securities is the trade name for the capital markets and investment banking services of Wells Fargo & Company and its subsidiaries, including but not limited to Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, a member of NYSE, FINRA, NFA and SIPC, Wells Fargo Prime Services, LLC, a member of FINRA, NFA and SIPC, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and Wells Fargo Prime Services, LLC are distinct entities from affiliated banks and thrifts.

© 2018 Wells Fargo Capital Finance. All rights reserved. Products and services require credit approval. Wells Fargo Capital Finance is the trade name for certain asset-based lending services, senior secured lending services, accounts receivable and purchase order finance services, and channel finance services of Wells Fargo & Company and its subsidiaries.

Wells Fargo & Company conducts business outside the U.S. through various companies, including duly authorized and regulated subsidiaries and affiliates in Asia, Canada, and Latin America. In Europe, banking services are provided through Wells Fargo Bank International (WFBI), directly regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. London Branch, authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. All products and services may not be available in all countries. Each situation needs to be evaluated individually and is subject to local regulatory requirements.

We provide links to external websites for convenience. Wells Fargo does not endorse and is not responsible for their content, links, privacy or securities policies.

Important notice regarding use of cookies: By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies as described in our Digital Privacy and Cookies Policy.

The opinions expressed in this document are general in nature and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or association. Contact your banker, attorney, accountant or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. The opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Wells Fargo Capital Finance or any other Wells Fargo entity.

The information in this report is for educational purposes only and should not be used or construed as financial advice or a recommendation to participate any strategy mentioned herein. Wells Fargo does not guarantee that the information supplied is complete, undertake to advise you of any change in its opinion, or make any guarantees of future results obtained from its use. The concepts discussed in the paper require the assistance of qualified legal counsel and tax advisors, and investors should consult their own attorneys and tax advisors with respect to their own situations.

  1. 2017 Silicon Valley Top 150 Public Technology Companies Rankings by Annual Revenue.