NatWest’s Path to Provide API-Enabled Client Payments

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The usage of application programming interfaces (APIs) in banking is increasing, making it important for financial institutions to build a robust API strategy to engage with third parties and business partners.

Indeed, “there’s an opportunity to API-enable pretty much all customer journeys,” said Claire Melling, NatWest Group’s head of Bank of APIs, in an interview, adding that financial institutions (FIs) can play a “key role in smoothing out those journeys” given the numerous interactions they have with customers.

And the possibilities are limitless, whether in regular banking operations such as payments, loans, property purchases, or data sharing. “There are possibilities everywhere,” Melling noted, “and as trusted businesses, we have a role to play in [providing those solutions to] our consumers.”

In delving more into her job at NatWest, she mentioned three primary areas of focus: developing API standards to fulfill regulatory criteria such as open banking and the European Union’s Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

“We’re looking at how we can go above and beyond those standards,” she stated, referring to open banking and other rules as “a tool to API-enable the business.”

This includes identifying areas where NatWest can API-enable certain customer journeys to provide value to its customers through the use of customer attributes, direct access to commercial customers, and variable recurring payments (VRPs), a new type of payment instruction in the United Kingdom that allows customers to consent to payment providers making payments on their behalf.