API of the Week: First Data Powers FinTech Apps with Ecosystem Benefits

By Rich Tehrani
June 22, 2016

Over the last 30 days, television news programs have been busy covering presidential campaigns, controversy about firearms, two tragic events in Orlando and a topic we don’t usually don’t hear about – international news. Typically, unless it’s a war or a tragedy, U.S. TV screens don’t get to see much of what happens beyond the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. But the U.K. has said it is thinking about leaving the Euro Zone – the so-called ‘Brexit’ as it’s known.

While most every pundit thinks this is bad news, there is a major silver lining to what could eventually be the breakup of the European Union. We don’t have time here to go into all my thoughts but the one most germane to technology is the opportunities will expand greatly in the wake of the Euro splitting into a dozen-plus new (again) currencies.

Pundits worry there will be more friction in transactions across borders if Britain was to leave – they may be right to a degree, but where there is friction, there are entrepreneurs looking to lubricate it.

In other words, we are in the world of FinTech now and financial technology will help erase any borders and barriers which prevented trade.

First Data bills itself (no pun intended) as the company simplifying the connections that make commerce possible. They have newly released APIs which will go even further. If you haven’t heard of the company, you may be familiar with Clover, their wildly popular PoS system.

To learn more, I conducted an API of the Week interview with Bruce Dragt, SVP, Head of Global eCommerce at First Data. This interview is being done in conjunction with the All About The API conference to be held this July in Las Vegas. We hope to see you there!

What APIs do you have available?

First Data has two core APIs available: the Payeezy API, which is a dynamic eCommerce solution that supports businesses of all sizes with their omnichannel strategies and the Clover API. The Clover API accesses an open platform for brick and mortar commerce with the Clover POS solution suite.

 With the Clover API, developers can create software applications that are integrated into the Clover device family – Clover Station, Clover Mobile, Clover Mini and Clover Go. These apps are distributed to Clover clients through the Clover App Market – one of the largest B2B app markets currently available with more than 150 apps – to streamline daily operations for business owners.

What are the benefits/ solutions they help provide?

The APIs provide solutions that impact the way consumers shop and pay for goods and also how business owners manage their business.

Some of the benefits that First Data’s APIs provide include:

  • Easy access for developers to connect new, innovative business solutions directly with a POS
  • Ability to leverage the Clover App Market for distribution of those business solutions directly to the merchant
  • Assistance to business owners with accepting payments in-store, online or through apps
  • Support for businesses as they expand globally, allowing customers to pay in their own currency and maximize sales across borders
  • Apple Pay and Android Pay enablement for in-app purchases

What new business opportunities do they potentially open up for your partners?

Developers who leverage First Data’s APIs have the potential to create solutions for the more than six million merchant locations that First Data serves. Many of these businesses represent some of the most well-known brand names that span many different industry verticals. By working with First Data, developers can both benefit from the scale of the largest merchant acquirer in the world as well as get a foot in the door with major brands.

Why should developers/ decision makers choose to be part of your ecosystem?

First Data is unique in that no other provider has the depth and breadth of solutions and global reach that we can provide. At First Data, we combine scale and distribution with innovation. We process 28 percent of global eCommerce transactions, 79 billion transactions globally and are present in 36 countries. First Data’s APIs allow developers to benefit directly from that scale and distribution while circumventing the complexity of a global organization.

What are some of the cooler solutions that have been developed using your APIs?

The Clover App Market provides more than 150 examples of innovative solutions developed using our APIs. Additionally, the Payeezy API has been leveraged by developers as well as both small and large businesses to support in-app and online solutions for our clients.

First Data also uses our APIs to create new solutions for our merchant base. For example, the Clover Online Store used the standard Clover APIs to create a common online experience for business owners. Clover Online Store is an all-in-one integrated solution for SMBs that includes shopping cart functionality, web design and all of the business management features that come with Clover.

Booker, a service commerce solution that supports the ten million SMBs in the service industry, is a good example of a fast-growing company that leveraged our APIs. Booker caters to salons, spas, and other appointment-based businesses, helping business owners manage appointments online and make scheduling easy for staff and customers. Through its development on the Clover API, the solution is fully integrated into First Data’s Clover Mini POS terminal, meaning businesses can seamlessly accept payments for the appointments they schedule through the app.

How do you market your APIs?

We market our APIs in a number of ways and have seen great success from participating in Hackathons. For example, we participated in the Money 20/20 Hackathon this past October. In 24 hours, we worked with 24 developer teams as they built 24 apps. We were impressed with the innovation we were able to see in such a short time. Additionally, we promote our APIs on social media and through blogging.

Later this year, we are planning a forum dedicated to our technology partners, where a two-way dialogue will be fostered. 

Who is the "customer" for your APIs?

FinTech developers who want to create a B2B solution to help support a business achieve its goals. The solutions that are created from our APIs are for everyone from small business owners just launching their first eCommerce website to large brands looking to offer a more streamlined omnichannel payment experience for their customers. Many of the apps in the Clover App Market have nothing to do with payment, but are key elements of helping a business run better.

Come see the world of APIs at All About The API. Our event will feature a variety of intensive hack-a-thons, in-depth company-focused workshops helping attendees understand the value propositions from key vendors, powerful keynotes, daily and nightly networking opportunities plus an exhibit hall full of companies demonstrating the latest innovations in today’s market place. Every business has to pay attention to the new opportunities they are presenting or potentially be displaced. We hope to see you July 18-21 2016 in Las Vegas!

This is the only event where you can network and see keynotes from these thought leaders:

  • Darko Vokovic Manager, Product Management, API Platform at Oracle
  • Gareth Jones, API Architect, Microsoft Graph
  • Jose de Castro, CTO, Cisco
  • Vice President, Hybrid Cloud Integration and API Economy, IBM
  • Tony Jamous, CEO, Nexmo
  • Alexis Bonillo, COO, Zenly
  • Rob Zazueta, Director, Digital Strategy, TIBCO Software
  • Neil Trevett, Vice President Developer Ecosystem, NVIDIA

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC

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