API’s or Application Programming Interfaces are bridges between what you want to build in your app and another service – they are the modern app building blocks. Before API’s became commonplace, we used to build every function inside an app, but now we can outsource some of the work to specialists. These specialists own one area and do it really well – they offer up an API to achieve a goal.
For instance, Facebook offers a quick login button that we all love; this is an API that simplifies app login. If you’ve ever received a text message from an app, it may have gone via Twilio https://www.twilio.com who simplify the act of sending automated text messages. And one I know I love is payments with Uber, so quick and simple, and you guessed it, it’s all managed via a payment processing API called https://www.braintreepayments.com/
APIs allow developers to focus on building the main features of the app instead of building everything up from scratch. For example, Uber is an awesome ride sharing app – not a payment processor eventhough it does need an amazing payment processor to smooth out the user experience. To focus on building a complete ride app, Uber developers use other APIs for payment, SMS, etc… and focus on the main features such as pick up ride, optimise route, etc…
The two most popular API’s I deal with daily are payments and texting, and I’ve outlined how they work below.
Payments Via Stripe
If you want to pay someone for goods on an app or even split a payment, you’ll want to use Stripe.The way it works is that we code it in and set up some rules. Maybe you’re making a ride share like Uber; the driver gets 70%, and you get 30% of a ride fee. When the ride ends, the app tells Stripe to make the transaction and revenue split happens. The cash is then deposited in both accounts on a 2-day rolling basis.
But all this isn’t free – Stripe charges a fee each time we make a transaction. On Australian cards, the fee is 1.75% of the transaction plus 30 cents. You can either pass this fee onto the customer as a surcharge or absorb this cost into your profit margins. Read more here https://stripe.com/au/pricing
Texting Via Twilio
If you want to validate a mobile number or send a reminder to a customer from an app, you’ll need Twilio. They basically have a computer that can access tonnes of virtual sim cards and send texts via the. We tell the API what we want to send and it does the rest. The price per text message varies depending on where your sending it but inside Australia is around 6 cents.
Read more here > https://www.twilio.com/sms/pricing
Something to keep in mind, service providers can change their APIs at any time. You need to keep taps on your APIs and make sure they are up to date so your users can have a seamless experience.