JUST RELEASED: The 2022 Corporate Bank API Power Rankings. Visit our Fintelligence page to view the report.
2022 Annual

Power Rankings Report for Corporate Bank APIs

Bank API Power Ranking Report
Info button

Original Cover Art by Kevin Kwan  |  

At FinLync, we believe in great design. Whether that’s our beautiful, intuitive product or in the original art you’ll find commissioned for this report, design changes your experience – and your outcomes.

 

Kevin Kwan is an artist based in Singapore. With his evolving skills in art direction and design, he is inspired to create artworks that thoughtfully convey an idea, a feeling, or a concept and inspire others in return.

Paper tear image dividing up page sections
Paper tear image dividing up page sections

About this Report

Learnings from the best in bank/corporate connectivity

In recent years, banks and the corporations they serve have experienced revolutionary changes in technology that have transformed their respective operations.

This Power Rankings Report addresses a third revolution – the means of connection between contemporary treasuries and their banks. Properly constructed, bank APIs can eliminate the inefficiencies, security gaps, and latencies previously imposed by traditional host-to-host connectivity.

Yet not all corporate bank APIs are the same.

In FinLync’s inaugural FinLync Power Rankings Report for Corporate Bank APIs, we honor the best in bank/corporate API connectivity. The following highlighted banks represent not only the high bar for API performance, but an invitation and guide to all banks to extend their reach, improve their connectivity, and ultimately, position themselves for greater relevance and competitive advantage in the years to come.

To be ranked among the best, bank APIs need to meet the following quality criteria:

Data depth

Basic bank APIs cover the essentials, such as cash visibility and payment status. The best APIs go further, addressing areas with potential competitive advantage including account signatories, pooling structures and invoice financing.

Documentation

The best APIs are sufficiently documented so that parties on either side of the connection have a comprehensive, precise understanding of technical requirements and functions.

Security

By eliminating manual file transfers, the API is inherently more secure than traditional connectivity. But the best APIs incorporate encryption, authentication controls, and other features for maximum security.

Development and Testing

Quality, robust APIs come as a consequence of best development practices, including the creation of developer portals and sandboxes to test connectivity and security.

FinLync is the authority on bank APIs for corporate treasury and finance.
Paper tear image dividing up page sections

Market Analysis

APIs today: A state of the union between banks and corporations

Today, bank APIs are no longer the novelty they once were, but not quite as widespread as they should be.

Banks now recognize that legacy forms of corporate connectivity are too slow, insecure, and expensive to build and maintain. Among banks, early API adopters have focused on cash visibility and payments, and are seeing data volumes increase exponentially for their live clients, encouraging other banks to take notice. Today, there are 90+ unique corporate banking APIs available from both boutique/regional banks and global financial institutions. Regardless of their size, most banks have either already made the move to offer APIs, or are planning to do so.

As the popularity of corporate bank API connectivity rises, we can expect greater investment as banks seek competitive distinction and explore opportunities for new revenue streams opened by new digital channels.

vs

https://www.finlync.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/premium-banking.png

Open Banking APIs vs. Premium Bank APIs

Think of it as a contrast between “basic” and “beyond.” Open Banking APIs are simpler, typically oriented around consumer needs for banking information and transactions. Premium Bank APIs do everything Open Banking APIs do but go further to meet the special requirements of corporate entities: connectivity to multiple banks and accounts, a greater range of payment types, and additional digital solutions for managing bank records for account management, virtual accounts, and pooling structures.

1358

Participants

in FinLync’s "Intro to Bank APIs" course since its launch nine months ago

Take the course

On the corporate side, treasurers are becoming more educated about bank APIs, recognizing that they are not just another digital channel but a way to resolve numerous treasury pain points: security, timeliness (lack of real-time access to crucial account data), and the expense of maintaining manually run host-to-host connections to each bank with which they do business.

Among the many different use cases, corporate adopters have applied bank APIs primarily for real-time account balances and transactions, simplifying spaghetti junction connectivity architecture, real-time payment initiation and tracking, and instant reconciliation. Their ROI has been immediately felt as they have reduced their dependency on professional services and IT, and gained on-demand access to time-sensitive data and new data points only available via bank APIs.

Perhaps most intriguingly, corporations have discovered another advantage of their bank APIs: not only have they been able to easily connect to all their banks through multi-bank API aggregators, they’ve found APIs to be the fastest, most efficient way treasury can access their bank data and integrate it with all their disparate, internal corporate systems.

Paper tear image dividing up page sections

A Brief History of Bank Connectivity

1930

Telex invented

1960

Monthly paper statements

1973

SWIFT founded

1983

Bank of Scotland offers the first online banking services

1984

First dedicated telephone banking service offered by Girobank, UK

1985

FTP becomes standardized and begins to be used publicly

1994

Stanford Credit Union is the first American bank to offer online banking

1998

PayPal founded

2007

Banks begin to offer smartphone apps

2015

FinLync founded

European Union adopts open banking legislation (PSD2)

2017

Zelle is launched

2018

Hong Kong issues Open API Framework

UK’s FCA and CMA legislation comes into force

Australia’s Consumer Data Right legislation

2019

PSD2 enforcement begins in Europe

Today

SWIFT and Host-to-Host are becoming obsolete. Bank APIs are the future.

Telex

Swift

Swift

Swift

Swift

Host-to-host

Host-to-host

Bank APIs

Bank APIs

Paper tear image dividing up page sections
Michael Miebach CEO Mastercard

Moderator at the World Economic Forum - May 2022

"Will SWIFT exist in five years?"

Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard

"No."

Explainer

Bank API Fundamentals

What does this API do?
Provides up-to-the-minute info on the ledger and available balance amount in a given account

What does it contain?
Date and time of balance info, ledger and available amount, account number, account currency.

What other elements are important for it?
Virtual account balances for cash concentration and multi-currency account balances.

Who uses this bank API?
Finance officers, treasurers, financial controllers, accounting clerks.

Which treasury functions does this touch?

  • Cash visibility for liquidity optimization
  • Balance checks before payment approval
  • Loans and inter-company funding
  • Investment decision
  • Management Reporting and Real-Time Multi-bank Dashboard Analytics

Additional info:
Historical transaction information from previous days.

What does this API do?
Provides up-to-the-minute info on the transactions in a given account.

What does it contain?
Date and time of transaction info, account number, account currency, transaction amount, transaction currency, transaction reference ID, transaction description.

What other elements are important for it?
Rich remittance data used for reconciliation in a structured format making it easily human and machine readable.

Who uses this bank API?
Finance officers, treasurers, financial controllers, accounting clerks, Audit.

Which treasury functions does this touch?

  • Transaction information are essential for reconciliation and forecasting activities
  • Visibility into Real-Time transactions helps identify fraud while action can still be taken
  • Transaction visibility gives a level of confidence in balances knowing what transactions have hit the bank account and which key transactions are still pending.

Additional info:
Historical transaction information from previous days.

What does this API do?
Provides a way to trigger a bank to transfer money from an account to another account, usually in another bank, as a payment for goods or services rendered.

Payment APIs are synchronous, so most processing issues or errors are discovered immediately as part of a request response, leading to much better exception handling.

What does it contain?
Details on the sender and receiver, their bank accounts, the amount and currency, descriptions of the payment context (e.g. remittance, invoice number).

What other elements are important for it?
A unique payment reference ID, to easily identify a specific payment.

Immediate request response with each transmission providing confirmation bank received and is processing the payment.

Provides numerous options for corporates to send funds based on individual payment needs (RTP, ACH, Wire) ensuring payment obligations are met all while limiting cost using low cost options when available.

Who uses this bank API?
Finance officers, treasurers, financial controllers, accounting clerks, payroll.

Which treasury functions does this touch?
Vendor payments, AP execution, AR, Loans, Payment Teams.

Additional info:
There are limits based on Bank APIs where payments can accept batches of payment instructions or just one.

Due to the speed and high level of confidence in the channel, just in time funding is possible allowing organizations to fund subsidiaries when needed avoiding excess trapped cash.

What does this API do?
Provides ability to enquire a bank about the status of a specific payment.

What does it contain?
The status of the payment based on an identifier, which reflect the real-time condition of the payment initiation instructions including the status within various clearing systems and across intermediary banks.

What other elements are important for it?
The payment reference ID is essential; For wire payments, it should include GPI information for tracking a payment throughout a bank network.

Who uses this bank API?
Finance officers, treasurers, financial controllers, accounting clerks.

Which treasury functions does this touch?
Vendor payments, AP execution, AR, GL, Payroll, FX Fundings, Investments, Debt Obligations, Intercompany Fundings.

Additional info:
These are a one-to-one request, the identifier represents a single payment instruction.

Paper tear image dividing up page sections
Bryan DeGraw, The Hackett Group

"The Hackett Group's experts anticipate that bank APIs will become the cornerstone of treasury's modern technology architecture."

Bryan DeGraw, Associate Principal, The Hackett Group

Overall Winners

The Top 3 Banks for APIs Overall

We recognize the top 3 banks that have not only adopted the API but have taken the lead in establishing best practices for bank API quality and performance. The top 3 are listed in no particular order and names of key team members were provided by the financial institutions.

HSBC has taken pains to offer a wide range of services through a modern API that accommodates JSON requests/responses and PGP encryption. The HSBC API delivers real-time balance and transaction information and supports querying information/statuses for Swift GPI payments. The response data is detailed, and all transactions have unique identifiers that allow for reconciliation with their clients’ internal systems. A descriptive and information-filled developers portal, plus stable sandboxes with client-specific data, make API adoption simpler and support continuous testing. HSBC has achieved widespread global coverage from a single API server, and offers deeply data-rich APIs that not only include cash management but trade finance as well.

Key Team Members

Cheng Kian Ooi

Kenneth Ou

Simon Barnes

Anjali Jain

Hong Boon Tew

Committed to helping their corporate clients achieve the benefits of real-time treasury operations, Standard Chartered Bank has developed an open-banking platform for transactions, payment initiation, payment status, and balances. Its APIs embrace modern design requirements – including JSON requests/responses, JWT, mutual TLS, and PGP encryption – and provides detailed, real-time balance and transaction data. Transactions incorporate unique identifiers to make reconciliation with client data easier. Convenient sandboxes contain large volumes of client-specific data; payment APIs test the full flow with real, not “dummy” static, data. Thanks to the intelligent development of its APIs, corporate clients get real-time visibility with greater security, reduced delays, and a growing range of services.

Key Team Members

Mark Willis

Byron Gardiner

Sailesh Punjabi

RajendraPrasad Pitchai

Tristan Smith

Management has thrown their full support behind API connectivity, creating a vision for the API road map that is consistent with their clients’ needs for detailed response data. In addition to applying the latest connectivity technology – JSON requests/responses, mutual TLS – Wells Fargo has created a sandbox test environment with varied data for UAT testing, and complemented its rapid onboarding with clear documentation supported by a helpful, responsive technical support staff. Their API provides access to real-time balances and transactions, and allows for data requests from multiple accounts simultaneously. Overall, they have assembled an expert and responsive team to build APIs and facilitate rollouts.

Key Team Members

Greg Hansen

Chris Noe

What about the low rankings?

Although it’s inappropriate to call out low-ranking banks by name, we can share the common denominators that led to poor scores. These include:

  • Insufficient testing capabilities
  • Poorly designed APIs
  • Limited (e.g., balances only) API operations
Paper tear image dividing up page sections

Category Winners

Best rankings by API type

The 3 Top Banks are winners by virtue of their overall API abilities. The following banks are celebrated for their excellence in specific API categories: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, DBS, PNC Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International, and Citibank.

Paper tear image dividing up page sections

“We believe APIs will be the predominant way of connecting to banks in the future.”

Olle Malmgren, Executive Director, Standard Chartered

Winner Profile

Standard Chartered: Profile of a Premium Performer

An international banking group that has been doing business in the US since 1902, Standard Chartered focuses on facilitating trade and commerce among businesses in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

In late 2021, Standard Chartered complemented its mission with an open banking platform, aXess, developed on a foundation of FinLync technology, that enables API connectivity for transactions, payment initiation, payment status, and balances. Today, Standard Chartered clients who have connected to their APIs enjoy real-time visibility into account data and cash positions, with secure integration into their ERPs.

According to Byron Gardiner, Head of Digital Client Solutions Asia at Standard Chartered, “Treasury teams know that APIs are the future of bank connectivity and we continue our co-evolution with clients towards a full on-demand banking and treasury experience.”

Paper tear image dividing up page sections

"Bank APIs are the future of corporate-to-bank connectivity."

Nadya Hijazi, Head of Digital, Global Liquidity and Cash Management, HSBC

View All Bank API Ratings

FinLync's Bank API Catalog

The FinLync Bank API Catalog is a directory of the corporate bank APIs available today. Updated quarterly, the catalog includes star ratings which indicate quality of the bank API, as determined by FinLync bank API experts. This catalog is continually expanding based on our ever-growing client list and their bank partners. FinLync can connect to any bank’s corporate APIs.

If you’re aware of other banks applying APIs to improve treasury connectivity, please submit their names here for consideration in the FinLync Bank API Catalog and future Corporate Bank API Power Rankings Reports.

View the Bank API Catalog
Paper tear image dividing up page sections