ASB API capability ready to power the digital ecosystem

29 September 2014 / Published in Tech & Innovation

Updated: Our API platform is now open for developer registration developer.asb.co.nz

There’s been a murmur of excitement in our Albany Technology Centre lately - the tech teams have been spotted in small groups, clustered around screens. Whispering. Empty pizza boxes have been discovered in collaboration rooms. There has been a flurry of stand-up meetings and post-it notes on boards, and the chatter around the lab has stepped up a pace. And now we know why. ASB’s new API (Application Programming Interface) platform launches today, extending our trusted financial services capability into the digital world. This platform paves the way for ASB to power the next generation of financial software and apps.

ASB’s Technology & Innovation Chief Architect, James Bergin, is brimming with excitement about this first for the NZ banking industry. “Traditionally banks have spent most of our time putting up secure ‘walls’ around the precious information we hold – and we have got very good at that!  But we need to do more than just protect, especially in a fast-moving digital world.” 

“Customers want access to their banking wherever they are, in whichever apps they choose.  So, we are now building some robust and safe ‘bridges’ into our environment which will make it easier to access and use financial information and capability in a variety of apps and digital experiences.”

At the most basic level, an API is a piece of software that allows other software (e.g. an app or a website) to ‘call’ it for information, or to access certain functionality.  Modern tech companies like Google, Apple and Twitter provide APIs to access some of their services, and this has led to the development of a vibrant ecosystem of apps and websites that many of us use every day.

How it works

Initially, publicly available real-time data such as foreign exchange rates, interest rates, and ASB branch and ATM location information will be available to the software developer community via the first published APIs.  However, in the future ASB will look to broaden the platform to offer more information and functionality, and even a number of private, authenticated APIs for richer app development capability.

Russell Jones, ASB Executive General Manager  Technology & Innovation, sees the API capability as yet another innovative technology disruption that ASB is embracing, and one which will encourage developers to create innovative financial experiences for their users that are in effect ‘powered’ by ASB.

“ASB has always been at the centre of innovation and now we’re breaking down the barriers financial organisations traditionally had around this type of data, to help power the digital economy” says Russell.

“APIs will make it easier to do business with ASB. By sharing data more easily and enabling secure, customer-authenticated access, ASB will help foster innovation within the developer community.”

Developers will be able to register online for initial vetting before they join the ASB developer community. Once registration is confirmed, they will be given a software key which will allow them to access the APIs for coding into their apps and websites. Additionally, on-board the API platform they can participate in the online forum which will be supported by a dedicated API team who will provide technical support, publish announcements and manage feature roadmaps.

Security remains a top priority as demonstrated by the industrial grade infrastructure underpinning the platform, coupled with the extensive security testing which is standard across all ASB systems.

A natural extension of ASB’s long-standing pedigree of innovation, the API platform is not technology for technology’s sake. The digital strategy for ASB has been carefully mapped out looking firmly into the future, and positions ASB as a serious player in the digital economy.

“Innovation is in our DNA,” says James steadfastly, “so it is exciting to be the first NZ bank to unlock this world of opportunity for the software development community. For example, some developers might take the opportunity to build in our ATM locations into their mapping app, or use our real-time foreign exchange rates to calculate currency conversions on their ecommerce website. We are looking forward to working alongside these dev teams  – they will play an important role in our combined success in the future”.

Developer registration is now available: developer.asb.co.nz


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