Modo CEO, Bruce Parker, joined payments experts from RPGC Group, GoCardless, and Raypd at Money20/20 Vegas to discuss payments infrastructure and innovation for ecommerce merchants. One of the topics they spoke to was the impact of APIs on payments infrastructure. Catch the discussion below, or watch the video above.
Brendan Miller, Raypd: In Forrestor’s State of Retail Payments Report, 48% of merchants said they are asking for easier API integrations into their applications. Integrations as we all know is a challenge for merchants. But, do the APIs solve all these issues? Are they helping us get to this future state? Are we living in a microservices world, an API world, where these experiences will be solved by APIs?
Bruce Parker, Modo: I will jump in and be a little bit provocative. Absolutely not. “Put a little API on that”. I have business conversations where they just say “Oh well, I have an API, or you have an API, or someone has an API,” and that word “API” is almost a word instead of a set of letters and in their minds it means something very particular which actually is not true. It’s, at best, an approach to an interface. It’s like saying you have a web page or something, and I think that’s a reasonable analogy. The way people use the word API and what they’re thinking when they are not technologist or they’re not super familiar with it is, I think, very similar to the late 90s with the web and internet and things like that. So in the same way, we saw some concentration. People don’t really think in terms of writing their own HTTP server anymore, they really don’t hand write HTML code anymore. There’s a set of tools, there’s a set of services. There’s a whole bunch of things that have evolved from 1996 when it sort of started to explode on the scene and then of course we all know what happened. I think there’s a similar sense in which we really are, on a weekly basis, talking to people that have 40-50 year old pieces of software running on mainframes and things that predate mainframes that are extraordinary and are very performant. So as we make this transition, I think a lot of things have to change, there’s almost like a ground-up sort of approach and the future looks very much like that evolution that the internet went through and how people think about that. They’re a little less concerned about how to write HTML code anymore, and they are a lot more concerned about engagement which is a real business issue. I think in payments it will be similar. I’m less focused on connectors and integrations because there are people out there in the wide wide world that know how to do that probably better than they do and they start worrying about “Oh I need a new business model for recurring payments. I’ve got some cross border interactions, and I need to redefine my entire payments business in a new way.” And to me, getting to the point where those are relevant means that you just blew everything up, started again, and did it in a more modern way.