Capital One Launches First True Open Banking Platform in US

U.S. bank Capital One has launched a developer portal and three new open APIs in a move that signals a significant shift in open banking platforms. Demonstrating their desire for street cred and aiming to appeal to developers directly, the announcement was made at SXSW in Austin, Texas yesterday.

The new developer portal - named Capital One DevExchange - provides a single point of reference for the bank’s engagement with developers, listing their (so far) three open APIs. The portal contains all the features that are now considered best practice for developer engagement including self-serve registration and instant API access, sandbox testing environments, documentation, code snippets, and reference applications with sample code.

Capital One DevExchange

DevExchange: An Open Banking Developer Platform

“DevExchange gives developers what they are looking for: easy-to-integrate APIs, a robust testing environment, great documentation that is comprehensive and simple, and sample code and reference applications,” Naveed Anwar, Managing Vice President Digital at Capital One told ProgrammableWeb on the eve of the launch.

“We are one of the first banks going after developers as a new audience,” Anwar said, noting the choice of name for the portal (with the word ‘exchange’ included), was deliberate: “When you work with developers, they do not just need a storefront, this is where developers can learn things so they can get better at their craft. It is not just about opening APIs that give them small integrations. This portal is about the ability to have a two-way conversation, it is more of an interaction.” Anwar says that the portal approach recognizes that “Developers don’t want to just build for the sake of it, they are focused on creating new consumer experiences.”

The portal will also become the home base for Capital One’s open source projects. Capital One’s foray into open source demonstrates both the company’s own internal reliance on APIs, and their willingness to share dev tools with the community. Last year, the company released Hygieia, an open source project that lets devs create a single dashboard with oversight of the entire application delivery pipeline (build, code repo, monitoring and deployment). Hygieia uses APIs to draw in metrics from dev tools like Jenkins, GitHub, and JIRA; all part of the agile tools used by Capital One developers themselves. (In theory, users of the open source dashboard could swap out those APIs with APIs of their own choice from their own dev tool stack.) Elements of Hygieia are also used on the DevExchange portal as part of the usage dashboard provided to developers.

“Developers are very hungry to build great user experiences, and that is one key strength I know Capital One can bring to the table,” said Anwar. “Our designers sit with our coders and build in an agile approach. We have a design first approach. We don’t want to just give developers the APIs, we want to give them other tools, too.”

Capital One’s Three Open Bank APIs

To kick start DevExchange, Capital One has release three new open APIs:

  • SwiftID API: a two-factor authentication service that lets Capital One customers manage access to third-party services in a secure manner.
  • Rewards API: returns Capital One customer rewards information including miles, points balance and cash rewards
  • Credit Offers API: an API where users can submit some basic information about their financial state and in return receive pre-qualification for specific offers to Capital One services, such as their credit cards.

The new APIs lend themselves to a variety of use cases.

SwiftID could be used to provide a more secure authentication process. Anwar gives the example of a car garage being able to supply a quote for repair and the customer validating authorization to carry out the works via SwiftID, or to add a layer of security to a Dropbox photo folder, where users with shared permission must also use SwiftID before they can access contents.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.