ASB Bank shares real-time data with external developers

ASB Bank shares real-time data with external developers
The walls have been replaced with bridges at ASB Bank as it opens up some of its real-time data to share with developers of new digital applications

ASB will be sharing its Application Programming Interface (API) framework and portal which will allow developers to use financial information from the bank when they develop products and services, including for use in mobile apps.

What is API? API is set of rules and protocols governing the development of softwares. The API dictates how software components should interact and are used in developing graphical interface.

ASB will allow external developers access to information that is already publicly available through the bank’s website -- multi interest rate feeds, foreign exchange rates, ASB ATM and branch locations. In the future, it will expand the offering to include a number of private APIs.

ASB Executive General Manager Technology & Innovation Russell Jones says at the moment, there is no charge placed on developers accessing ASB’s data through its API.

“However, in the future, we may well charge for access, depending on who, for what, and what kind of data is being accessed,” he says.

He adds that APIs will make it easier to do business with ASB. By sharing data more easily and enabling secure, customer-authenticated access, ASB will help foster innovation within the developer community.

At the moment, over 600,000 on customers transact on the bank’s website and 250,000 mobile users access the bank’s information for transaction, Jones says.

ASB Chief Architect James Bergin says the platform represents a “bridges not walls” approach to the way banks share information.

“Customers want access to their banking wherever they are, in whichever apps they choose. So we are now building some robust and safe ‘bridges’ into our environment which will make it easier to access and use financial information and capability in a variety of apps and digital experiences.”

ASB’s real-time banking capability, introduced in 1969, has helped ready the bank for this move.

Jones says Jones the bank’s security systems are well set up to protect the integrity of its digital data. “The portal has been built with enterprise-class infrastructure and we have carried out exhaustive security testing, as we do for all our digital properties.”

Developers are required to register themselves and their application on the portal in order to get an API ‘key’ that unlocks access to the data and functionality provided. 

Examples of API at work:

Amazon, for instance, allows developers to access its API so third party websites can update prices and information, with an option to “buy now”.

Google’s API enable developers to integrate YouTube videos into their websites.

Amazon's Product Advertising API gives developers access to Amazon's product selection and discovery functionality to advertise Amazon products to monetize a website.for end-users.

In the ASB case, an app developed for and targeting Mandarin-speaking users can tap into the bank’s API to provide an app for accessing live exchange rates.