What's the right payment API for developers?
When coding a payment solution, choosing the right payment API to help with your payment processing should never be taken lightly. As developers, whether it's a payment integration for eCommerce, point-of-sale, mobile, Enterprise, or any combination, let's define what is a payment API.
Most payment applications (APIs) are transactional and involve sending and retrieving messages to and from remote systems across dedicated links or IP networks. Payment API processes can include authorizing a payment, setting up a subscription, or initiating a bank transfer from a mobile app--to name a few of the common requests.
That's a hefty definition that comes with a stark reality for development teams. On average, a comprehensive payment integration can take more than 6-months! Here's why.
Businesses demand a simple payment solution that can manage a variety of powerful capabilities and value-added features including analytics, account updating and reporting functionalities. That's where a robust API is critical, allowing for the touch points between complex applications and financial business processes that grow each year as new trends and features become available to better serve the growing payment needs of your clients. The process of managing, testing and certifying payment integrations take time.
So now that we've defined an API, let's dive into what type of API will you need for your merchant processing development project.
What are the types of APIs for payment developers?
When it comes to payments there are numerous APIs, but most fall into one of the categories described in Payment APIs Demystified - Five Common Types.
Once you master the mechanics of coding to an API in one of the standards listed below, the other APIs in the same family become more readily available to integrate into your payments development. Because most payment transactions are message-oriented, protocols play a huge role in payment processing.
In short, an understanding of the five types of APIs common in payment applications will move developers down the path to choosing the best payment API for coding payment processing and take you to the beginning of your payments journey.
- ISO 8583 Standard - Although better described as a protocol or message format, the ISO 8583 messages may travel from a merchant terminal or ATM, through to a merchant acquirer, through to card networks, and ultimately to card-issuing banks. Quick Fact: Most developers probably won’t code ISO 8583 messages directly unless they are working at a large retailer, bank, payment processor or payment gateway.
- SOAP XML Web Services - The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a W3C XML based standard that allows organizations to publish interfaces such that they are discoverable and platform agnostic. Quick Fact: A nice property of a SOAP API is that it is self-documenting.
- HTTP/S POST APIs - Developers use their own HTTP requests to send messages directly to a network endpoint. Often referred to as HTTP APIs, it is standard practice to send traffic over an SSL/TLS encrypted HTTPS connection. Quick Fact: While POST APIs can support any type of payload, JSON is often preferred because it is lightweight, flexible, and easily parsed.
- REST APIs - A Representational State Transfer is an architectural style for expressing an HTTP-based API. Developers who understand how to code to HTTP POST APIs (above) will automatically understand RESTful APIs because the mechanics of interacting with them are the same. Quick Fact: A RESTful API borrows from object-oriented design principles and typically provides multiple URL endpoints that correspond to objects being manipulated.
- SDKs - Software Development Kits are not considered true APIs, but are client-side libraries that abstract and simplify coding to all of the above interfaces and are usually programming language aligned. (We're including here due to the touchpoints with the other four API types) Quick Fact: SDKs simplify coding, but also introduce a new source of complexity in the form of a client-side software component that their application depends on.
How to start with your Payment API Integration
Now that you've selected an API for your business needs, it's time to get coding. So here are the typical processes developers need to follow to test and certify an integration. (We'll use the Express Certification Overview as an example to explain these steps)
- Setup a free test account.
- Visit Getting Started with Express. For Worldpay, sign up for a free, production simulated test account. After signup, look for an email containing hyperlinks, including the Express Interface API to help you begin integrating your hardware and/or software solution.
- Test Your Integration.
- The Worldpay Integrated Payment production simulation certification environment allows developers to code, test and evaluate your integration to the Express Interface. And remember, if you get stuck, ask our integration experts or review the documentation here on Vantiv O.N.E.
- Submit your RFC.
- The RFC and Scenarios document gives our certification team your hardware and software details. This documentation is required along with details on your company policy on securing sensitive cardholder information.
- Certification Testing and Review.
- After our integration team has all the necessary documentation--your integration team will also need to complete and submit all appropriate scripts, which our certification team will review your test transactions and respond with any needed changes to your integration.
- Express Certification Letter.
- Once certified, your team will receive an official Letter of Certification and you'll be directed to a Partner Manager to begin boarding live merchants.
For help in choosing the right payment API
There's a lot to consider. Everything from PCI Compliance, tokenization, fraud protection, global support for multiple currencies, sandbox functionalities and what SDKs are available in multiple coding languages (including Java, .NET, PHP, Node.js, and C++).
Plus you'll want the best team of payments experts ready to assist in your integration--since the sooner you complete a payment integration, the sooner you can start processing payments!
Are you ready? Choosing the right payment API for payment processing is as simple as reaching out to our Worldpay team of API experts that are continually updating our documentation.
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