Every time some readers hear someone mention the term API (application program interface), the think of sophisticated computer programming out of their reach, yet they use and experience APIs everyday of their lives!
Some of them book their flight and hotel tickets online, shop online and in-store and even have simple applications using API’s.
Whopping online or paying for anything electronically, there are API’s involved. For example, anyone shopping online on Amazon or eBay will use either Visa or MasterCard or PayPal to pay. Because of presence of APIs or Bridges one will easily pay for a good or service in one process and instantly because Visa or MasterCard API or bridges have been inbuilt between Amazon or eBay to allow information and in this case money to flow from one’s bank account to clear for the chopping cart either online or offline.
Setting up an API can therefore be seen as laying up a bridge between to companies to allow them to communicate seamlessly and instantly. During the communication, there is an exchange of information needed by both for a task to be accomplished by an end-user who might not be aware of that bridge.
Though not so seamless, Kenya’s PesaPal API allows for millions of people to pay for their electricity, DStv, GOtv, Nairobi Water and other utility bills straight from their mobile phones on the go. PesaPal has also signed up thousands of merchants to to its payments API or payments bridge. The user doesn’t have to leave their Jubilee Insurance app to pay for their insurance.
Now let’s get to Equitel EazzyAPI.
With EazzyAPI, application developers, businesses, institutions and payment providers in Kenya and across Equity Bank’s markets can build a simple bridge between their applications or online stores and the bank to enable their customers transfer funds within and outside Equity, top up Airtime top up from any telco, pay bills or simply shop for goods and services instantly.
These developers, businesses, institutions can use the EazzyAPI to collect and communicate to and from Equity Bank’s online or offline services such as debit and credit cards, POS systems, online banking among others. The API gives third-party users say merchants or investments groups Equity Bank’s capabilities regardless of the goods they sell or services they offer.
With EazzyAPI developers can build applications allows a Merchant to receive both online or in-store payments, purchase airtime and create remittance or track payments and get payment status.
One such firm using EazzyAPI to track payments and get payment status is Kenya’s ChamaSoft, a Digital Vision EA software focused at Saccos or investment groups. ChamaSoft solves the book keeping aspect of Kenya’s Investment Groups or Chamas by reminding the members when contributions are due and how much is due.
Because most of this payments are paid to the bank, Equity Bank in this case, ChamaSoft generates statements which show how much each member has contributed or how much is in arrears. It fines members automatically for late payment of contributions and keeps a track of all loans disbursed to members.
ChamaSoft also keeps track of all investments carried out by the groups and provides interfaces to record all deposits and withdrawals made to the group’s accounts namely contribution deposits, fine payment deposits, loan repayments, asset sale payments, stock sales, income, expenses, money market investments.
Without need for a human accountant, ChamaSoft generates reports required for effective monitoring of the group’s financial position after communicating via the API with the bank. These reports include summary of how much each member has contributed per contribution and how much each member owes, summary of how much each member has been fined for misdemeanors such as contribution late payment vs how much has been paid against the fine and summary of how much is out in terms of loans and projected profits for the group.
ChamaSoft also generates a Bank Loans summary, an expenses summary, account balances, transaction statement, cash flow statement, income statement, balance sheet and trial balance.
The ChamaSoft-EazzyAPI integration allows groups to receive real time reconciliation of transactions made to the group’s bank accounts with their records on Chamasoft, there minimizing the role of the treasurer to that of monitoring while Chamasoft handles the bulk of the work.
Jumia’s online store is another good example of EazzyAPI at work. The integration betweeen the two (still in steakth mode) would allow Jumia to receive online payments from shoppers at a click. EazzyAPI allows a shoppers to pay for their shopping seamlessly via the bank’s robust systems minus leaving the website or application say for example someone ordering for food from Jumia Food. They don’t have to go looking for the restaurants Till number as the API in-builds them between the systems so the customer only identifies himself or herself then the payment process takes place.
The shoppers will also has a statement from the bank about the purchase and Jumia will also have the records of who shopped for what at what time in its systems minus the need to confirm with Equity Bank about payments.
With such an integration, paying for an Uber becomes seamless and takes less than a few seconds compared to clunky M-Pesa’s Till and Paybill numbers.
For developers who want to integrate online booking apps or online stores with EazzyAPI, the process is simple and will allow shoppers to sign up online, provide names, location and address and payment information, indicating currency and amount per item.
Jumia then securely sends this identity information to Equity Bank via the robust EazzyAPI so that payment can be processed for the shopping cart to be released. The EazzyAPI payments page becomes integrated directly on Jumia so that whenever anyone wants to pay there’s a seamless experience on checkout.