From billion dollar companies to the neighborhood coffee shops, merchants of all sizes are seeking new ways to offer secure and affordable mobile payments systems that expand their ability to conduct business. The PayPal API got its start this way, first with online auctions, then with thousands of websites and individuals. It's now one of over 150 payment APIs, many of which exist outside of traditional finance.
While some folks tend to think about APIs are being little bits of arcane code that only developers care about it, the truth of the matter is that billions, possibly even trillions, of dollars are at stake in what will soon be a series of API wars. In no place is this more important than in mobile banking, where companies ranging from Google, the PayPal unit of eBay and lesser known entities such as MineralTree are all vying to usurp the role of traditional financial institutions.