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Visa Launches Visa Developer Suite of APIs

| by Benjamin Young Follow 1 Followers on Feb 16, 2016. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Visa Developer opens the world’s largest retail payment network to the world of developers. The suite of APIs available via this newly launched platform include far more than the expected credit card validation and authorization systems by including APIs for micro-transactions, wish lists, and shopping carts.

The API is a simple JSON request-response API using HTTP and two-way SSL (mutual authentication) or a shared-secret system (API key) for authentication. The offerings available are split into four areas of interest:

  • Payment – the focus of most of the documentation and sample code
  • General Services – which includes Foreign Exchange Rates, Account Validation, and a Visa-supporting ATM Locator
  • Risk and Fraud – provides geolocation verification, a token service, and transaction alerting
  • Trials – has a single “microtransations” collection which includes interesting offerings such as Shopping Cart, Wishlist, Sales Policy, online Wallet, and User Management and User Order History

The full list is available in the Visa Developer API Catalog.

An initial review of the API from Reddit-er Acchariya noted that implementers may be required to use PCI compliant servers to use these new endpoints: “without this public-private API key scheme, it means your request needs to come from the back end, meaning customer card info hits your back end...meaning full PCI compliance.”

The VisaDeveloperProgram organization on GitHub includes sample code for C#, Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Ruby. The code is basic, but presents the potential of using the Cybersource Payments, Checkout, and Direct APIs. However, the code currently lacks a stated license, so developers should avoid copying and pasting from these examples for the time being. Additionally, the terms of service state that developers may need to make their code available to Visa for “testing and related purposes” to ensure compliance with the terms

Trial partners include Capital One, CIBC, Emirates NBD, National Australia Bank (NAB), RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, TSYS, U.S. Bank and VenueNext. Visa’s expectation centers around collaboration of partners and developers to grow the ecosystem. Dominico Venturo, CIO at U.S. Bank was quoted in an article for pymnts.com as saying, “Collaboration is key, and the developer portals and tools offered by Visa enable U.S. Bank to bring new ideas to reality for our customers more quickly and with less development investment than traditional approaches.”

Developers beyond this group have begun considering this new platform for use with technologies such as Bitcoin and other peer-to-peer payments systems. “By opening up the platform through API’s, some of the most innovative features offered by Visa can be explored and integrated into future payment solutions” said Bitcoin analyst JP Buntinx in Bitcoin Can Benefit From New Visa Developer Platform.

Activity in this space in December saw the creation of the W3C’s Web Payments initiative which included the formation of the Web Payments Interest Group—with chairpersons from Bloomberg and NACS—as well as a Web Payments Working Group—chaired by individuals from Worldpay and Ripple. Both groups are chartered into the fourth quarter of 2017.

Also of note is Visa’s vision for its global developer engagement program to include a marketplace for financial institutions, merchants, and technology companies to find and utilize each other’s services and software based on this new platform.

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