Payment API: A Guide for Developers


Payment API: A Guide for Developers

We are living in a time of omnichannel customer experience in which developers have a key role. They ensure that every piece of data is processed correctly from the customer first looking at a product to typing in their credit card number on a checkout page.

In addition, developers need an important piece of the puzzle to make it all work: a payment gateway API that allows them to expand the capabilities of their software and tools. If there’s a bonus, it’s payment API flexibility which puts a treasure chest in their hand regarding the possibilities of integrating applications.

In this article, we’ll look into what API, payment API and payment API flexibility are, and what features developers should consider when choosing an API.

What is an API and a Payment API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it’s a set of programmatic instructions that allow one program to interface with another program. In other words, an API simply authorizes and integrates two applications to communicate with one another in order to provide a seamless digital experience.

A payment API, also known as payment gateway API or payment processing API operates to integrate a payment solution with another, existing application, such as connecting a business’s checkout function to the payment system.

A payment API is also often referred to as the opposite of hosted checkout where the payment is processed on another website. Unlike hosted checkout pages, payment gateway APIs allow businesses to accept payment from customers on-site, avoiding the risk of shopping cart abandonment.

Regarding payment APIs, as an overall rule, developers should pay attention to payment API flexibility.

What is Payment API Flexibility?

Payment API flexibility is business flexibility. It’s about providing the flexibility of security, convenience and design in the payment system for the merchant and their customer both, through customization options. For example, businesses may want multiple currencies supported, the option to set both one-time and recurring payments, and naturally, to be able to accept payments across devices, according to what their customers want to use.

It’s worth noting that this is not only about the special customization options but a holistic approach to payment APIs — if you’re able to look at and find all possible features in a payment gateway API, remembering the importance of a flexible payment system, you will most certainly pick the payment API that fits technical and business needs alike.

As mentioned above, this is why developers, by focusing on payment API flexibility, are an integral part of today’s ecommerce ecosystem. With the right, namely flexible, payment API, they can improve their products and services, thus supporting their own and their customer’s growth — and isn’t that what merchants and businesses want?

10 Features To Look for in a Flexible Payment Gateway API

From a developer perspective, integrating payments into your software can yield many benefits to you and the users. It can provide an enhanced customer experience, streamlined operations, improved security — the list goes on.

But with so many payment APIs out there, choosing the right one for your business, bearing in mind API flexibility, can be overwhelming. So, we’ve put together the key features that developers should look for in a flexible payment gateway API to ensure a seamless integration.

1. Clear Documentation

Starting with the basics, documentation is your main tool for implementing an API, and will therefore determine the quality of your integration experience. When evaluating payment APIs, start by taking a look at their documentation. Is it both clear and concise? Does it include sample code and tutorials? Is it formatted in a way that is easy to navigate? Make sure you have positive answers to all these questions before moving forward.

2. Up-to-date Design and User Experience

Another important element is the way the payment gateway is designed. A well-thought-out API interface design must cater to the professional vision of the developer and the needs of the customer at the same time. With that said, it should provide the basic technical functionalities but also use modern design practices that lie at the intersection of usability and accessibility, among others, and all contributing to the user experience.

3. Easy to Use

Linking to the previous point, it’s important to stress usability. No one wants to waste time and money on a long, complex integration process. The easiest API to use is one that is fast, simple and easy to implement. The structure of the API should be straightforward and consistent, and give you clear error messages when something isn’t working correctly.

4. Testing Environment

While building your API integration, you’ll want to test the full payment process from the customer perspective before going live. This will ensure that everything works smoothly and that the web services meet your requirements upfront. Be sure your credit card processing API offers a sandbox or test environment to experiment with dummy data.

5. Robust Security

When it comes to accepting payments, security is key. Your payment processor API of choice should go the extra mile to secure sensitive cardholder data, both when capturing and storing it, in order to protect both you and your customers from a data breach. Security features like point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization can protect transactions through their full lifecycle. CardConnect's patented security solution is PCI-validated, meaning the PCI Security Standards Council approves it as a solution that can help businesses maintain compliance and keep data safe.

6. Omnichannel Capabilities

You want to give customers as many options as possible when it comes to making purchases, and integrating with a processor that offers an omnichannel solution will allow you to do so. Choosing a payment API that offers shoppers multiple ways to pay, whether it’s via point-of-sale, mobile, online or ACH, will increase both sales and customer satisfaction.

7. Broad Functionalities

Certain features must be included in any API, such as error handling, data validation or different authentication processes. For payment APIs, developers should think of tokenization in the transaction process or advanced payment features as well, including system options to recharge or refund customers or automate recurring payments. Make sure to choose a payment processing API with all the functionalities that will prove essential to your customers.

8. Integration with Multiple Gateways

There are several scenarios when you may need a payment gateway API that is able to connect to more than one gateway, in fact, it happens more and more often nowadays so as a developer, you may want to keep this option in mind. Your customer as a business may want to move to a new market but their payment provider is not authorized to accept payments there. In this case, they need another one and a payment API with such capability – it’s a direct call for payment API flexibility.

9. Third-party API Partners

In many industries, businesses have to use third-party partner APIs — if you can serve their needs as well, you’re instantly growing your customer base. A common example of this is if the given business has a site where different services are offered which can all be purchased from different providers. This means, the payment gateway API should carry the capability to process each transaction separately and directly with the specific provider. If everything goes well, while this third-party transaction is managed, your merchant partner and its customer will experience nothing but a seamless payment process.

10. Customer Support

On a final note, it’s crucial for the payment API source to have adequate support in place. Knowing there is help available for how to successfully integrate a solution using a provider’s APIs, will give you peace of mind throughout the entire development process and improve the whole integration experience.

Find the Perfect API Solution for Your Business

When it comes down to payment API flexibility, a payment gateway should allow you to integrate with ease and offer features that will improve the overall checkout experience for everyone involved. Putting the effort into researching APIs will not only save you time and money but will also give you the confidence that you chose the perfect solution for your business.

To learn about CardConnect’s suite of APIs, visit our Developer Center, or fill out the form below.