LISTEN NOW: The Journey Towards Open APIs: Insights from work with five DFS providers


Author: Sarah Corley

In this webinar, Senior CGAP Open API Consultants, Lesley-Ann Vaughan, Paul Reynolds and Aiaze Mitha and Michel Hanouch, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, share their experiences from working with five DFS providers to open APIs over the last three years. The discussions includes insights on the nature of the opportunity, how to get started on this journey, and some of the challenges that will need to be overcome.


Open APIs enable more relevant use cases for customers. They allow third parties to integrate with existing rails more quickly, easily and efficiently ā€“ opening up the uses for e-money and the ability to make digital payments. Small Fintechs or niche use cases now have opportunities.

This webinar gives the example of three organisations who decided to use open APIs:

  • Eko in India decided to adopt open APIs as their growth had stalled and costs to expand alone were challenging. Their core product is remittances using agents. By partnering with third parties via open APIs they reduced their customer acquisition from $30 to $5 a customer and their reach from 10 to 26 states and 15,000 to 135,000+ agents. Their revenue share is 50:50 with their partner, but revenue has increased for them due to significant volume increase
  • MTN wanted to position themselves at the core of the digital economy in the markets they operate in. They recognised they have a number of assets including customers, data and infrastructure and wanted to allow third parties to connect and offer new services and use cases. This increased customer activity and transactions will increase their revenue. They started in Uganda and plan to roll out in 23 countries so can scale quickly
  • Paytm have 350 million wallet customers and wanted to connect to corporates to facilitate payments such as salaries and vendor payments. They have full and partial integration options, which provides flexibility for their corporate clients in terms of time to get to market, and have dispersed around $200 million

CGAP have the 3 Sā€™s of how to implement:

  1. Ensure APIs connect to STRATEGIC business priorities ā€“ focus on why first then the how
  2. Keep it SIMPLE ā€“ start small, configure to learn and iterate
  3. Aim for SELF-SERVICE, make the sandbox open and ensure things are seamless

During the discussion a CGAP webinar on open banking for financial inclusion was referenced and also the CGAP resources and toolkits for open APIs for digital finance.