We’re pleased to announce the release of versions 2.2 and 2.3 of the Payments NZ API Centre’s API standards for Account Information and Payment Initiation. Our payment-related API standards continue to play an important role in streamlining the development of open banking products and services in Aotearoa New Zealand.

These updates build on our current v2.0 and v2.1 standards, which were both published in 2020. The focus of versions 2.2 and 2.3 is around making more parts of the standards mandatory for API Providers when it comes to implementation. This update doesn’t include new functionalities.

These latest versions of the standards are now also available in our API Centre sandbox, powered by Middleware NZ, for all Standards Users and Community Contributors to use to test their innovations. The API Centre currently has 8 API Provider and 15 Third Party Standards Users and 155 Community Contributors.

What’s new in these versions

Decoupled authentication flow, which allows API Providers and Third Parties to separate their respective interactions with the customer, is now mandatory across both the Account Information and Payment Initiation standards. This has the benefit of making it possible for a customer to interact with their bank and any third party services using different devices for the same transaction.

Version 2.2 of the Account Information standard makes high priority resources mandatory, such as statements and party. The ‘statements’ resource allows a Third Party to request all statements associated with a specific account within a specified date range. And the ‘party’ resource allows a Third Party to retrieve information about the ‘party’ (which means the customer or owner) linked to a specific account, such as name, email addresses, mobile numbers, or other information, with consent.

In version 2.3 of the Payment Initiation standard, enduring payment consent is a mandatory feature for API Providers to implement. This is where a customer does not have to be present to make a payment within certain approved parameters, for example in recurring monthly payments.

Aotearoa’s open banking ecosystem matures

In earlier iterations of the standards, the industry agreed that including optional features in the standards would enable products and services to be built faster. It meant API Providers could focus on implementing only the core functions that were deemed critical to success. They then had the option to add more features on top of these core functions to support a wider range of use cases.

API Centre Manager Phil Cass says the intention has always been to make more features mandatory as time went by.

“We are gradually phasing out what we call the optionality of features in the standards, which is a natural next step as Aotearoa’s open banking system continues to grow and mature. As more API Centre Standards Users adopt our standards, there will also be a shift in industry expectations as to what these standards can and should be doing to encourage more streamlined customer experiences.”

The API Centre is currently working on a range of other standards development activities, including the development of an implementation roadmap for the ecosystem, which would provide clarity and certainty around when specific versions of the standards will be supported by API Providers.

How to get involved

There are a range of ways you can get involved with the API Centre, from subscribing to our email updates to be kept informed about news and activity, to registering as a Standards User or a Community Contributor, which also gives you access to our sandbox. If you’d like to talk to someone in the team, feel free to contact us.