Learn about the API Centre service model, including the founding objectives and design considerations established by an industry working group, and the benefits the service provides.

Five foundations

The five foundations of the API Centre model are:

1.  Innovation first

  • Provides common standards as building blocks
  • Encourages innovation value-add
  • Enables payments-related data innovation

2.  Market driven

  • Is responsive to market demand
  • Opens up new business opportunities
  • Is flexible to diverse business models

3.  Industry led

  • Provides central co-ordinating role
  • Has balanced and open governance
  • Encourages representation and brings innovators together

4.  Inclusive and open

  • Provides clear and flexible framework
  • Has simple entry criteria
  • Enables dynamic ecosystem and multiple connections

5.  Distributed delivery

  • Allows partners to define bi-laterals
  • Parties manage risks and controls
  • Parties determine delivery models and implementation

Founding objectives

The following objectives guided the design of the API Centre. They reflect the industry-led approach and reinforce the shared desire to simplify partnering and improve financial services and payments innovation.

  • Simplification and consistency of delivery
    The industry will have access to a shared API framework that allows for a consistent and usable specification to access, develop and deliver API-based offerings and applications.
  • Increased speed to market
    Users of the framework will be able to draw on agreed common standards and specifications, resulting in faster and more efficient consumption of data and information in the market.
  • Services enhanced
    Users of the framework will be able to provide enhanced levels of payments innovation and service, resulting in better outcomes for customers.
  • Simplified partnering
    The API framework will allow for simplified partnering between API providers and third parties, meaning new API-based technology will be extendable, evolving over time, and have simplified integration.
  • Optimal framework management
    The API framework will provide clarity and deliver efficiency, while allowing for API providers to manage risk and controls for access to customer data.
  • Simplified acquisition of new business
    The API framework will enable API providers and third parties to innovate and develop new business opportunities.

Design considerations

In developing the API service framework, the industry working group was mindful of the strategic intent behind this work and set the following design principles:

  • Clarity - clearly articulate key terms, definitions and processes that are used in conjunction with APIs.
  • Extensible - establish flexibility, allowing users to build on top of the core standard and then innovate and extend within their organisation. Framework mechanisms will then provide the ability for these innovations/extensions to be brought back to the API Centre and shared.
  • Leverage - evaluate, reuse and leverage existing standards where appropriate.
  • Simple - be easy to implement.
  • Stable - provide a stable, transparent and backward-compatible environment where change is communicated, actioned and governed in a consistent manner.
  • Mandatory set - have a mandatory set of core minimum standards.
  • Security model - will provide an agreed appropriate security and authorisation model, and the account holder will have ongoing visibility and control over the terms of access to their data.
  • Independence - preserve optionality in delivery models and implementation technology should be open.

Service description

In designing the API Centre, thought was given to how it should best serve the organisations that would consume the API standards and use its services. This work took into account the broad design considerations, key roles that needed to be undertaken, overseas models and feedback from local industry stakeholders.

The API Centre is described as a service provided by Payments NZ that:

  • Develops, delivers and maintains API standards.
  • Manages access to the API standards.
  • Is led by market demand, especially regarding API initiative development and implementation.
  • Promotes system efficiency, safety and innovation through the use of the API standards by registered Standards Users on agreed terms and conditions.
  • Provides services to make partnering easier between registered API providers and third parties (such as the bilateral template agreement).
  • Provides a sandbox so registered Standards Users and Community Contributors can test their innovations against the API standards to help develop their propositions.
  • Is flexible to meet market needs.

Service benefits

On behalf of the payments industry, the API Centre:

  • Builds an infrastructure foundation that can be re-used and evolved to the industry’s wider Payments Direction strategic objectives, including request-to-pay, proxy identifier, faster payments and informative transactions.
  • Fosters and encourages a more dynamic and digital network, while also simplifying the partnering and development pathway for those in the API ecosystem.
  • Enables the ongoing standardisation of an API set, ensuring APIs are maintained and managed, and new APIs and functionality are developed in response to market demand.
  • Reduces duplication of effort across the industry and enhances delivery for both API providers and third parties by centralising common activities, such as application, registration, onboarding, policy and guidelines, development lifecycle and sandbox services.
  • Enables the delivery of an industry-led API framework which offers potential for growth of new business opportunities for those involved.
  • Reduces the proliferation of bespoke APIs for common payment-related activities. Also reduces fragmentation that causes inefficiencies and inhibits the industry-wide development of new and innovative products and services.
  • Creates and enables new capabilities that Standards Users can leverage, providing the potential for them to develop new service offerings or enhance existing ones.
  • Creates cost efficiencies by providing universal API standards, so API providers and third parties do not need to build different specs to interact with each other.

Alignment with Payments NZ

Payments NZ strives to make sure payments are simple and secure for all New Zealanders. The API Centre’s design ensures close alignment with this overarching goal and the Payments NZ vision and mission, which are:

  • Vision - to ensure New Zealand has the world’s most progressive, self-governing payments industry, and to enable innovative and interoperable payments systems so Kiwis can pay who they want, when they want and how they want.
  • Mission - to strengthen the industry through effective governance, with input from stakeholders and a team of capable experts. To enable inclusion in the ecosystem, promoting interoperable, innovative, safe, open and efficient payment systems.