RBC opens API developer portal

Why the bank thinks making code available to third parties will help facilitate innovative partnerships and integration.

RBC has launched an API portal, giving external developers access to tools that will help bring its services to new platforms and partners into its financial ecosystem.

Through the new platform, third party developers, clients and partners that are approved through the RBC Developers portal will have access to the data  required to build into their own apps and online platforms.

Initially, RBC is offering five API packages through the portal:

· credit card catalog API, which provides access to credit card rates and fees through a business oriented interface

· minimum down payment API, which calculates the minimum down payment required for a given purchase price of a home

· branch locator API, which uses postal code or keyword search term to returns the address and hours of operation of the closest branch, or a list of the closest branches

· amortization schedule API, which calculates the number of payments associated with a mortgage amount, amortization period, interest details and payment details

· safety deposit box inventory API, which provides safety deposit box information at a specified branch.

The bank says it plans to add additional APIs in the future.

Sumit Oberai, SVP of digital technology at RBC, says the project aims to facilitate integrations and partnerships with other online services its customers are using or will be using in the future.

RBC already offers integrated services through certain partners. When booking a flight through WestJet, for example, customers can apply for a WestJet RBC credit card at checkout. In the fall, RBC also began collaborating with accounting fintech Wave to allow clients to integrate their banking information with the accounting platform.

But Oberai says “standardizing” these kinds of integrations will help get partnerships like these off the ground faster and easier, as opposed to the traditional approach of coming at each one on a case-by-case basis.

“Allowing ourselves to more easily partner with more innovative companies who create innovative services and getting the reach of RBC to them is a goal of ours,” Oberai says. “That also helps us meet our clients’ needs, and those are changing as the world does.”

Another major goal, Oberai says, is to meet its customers where they are already spending their time and integrate themselves into their lives. This is becoming more of a priority as an increasing amount of banking is being done through digital platforms. Finding ways to integrate those tasks into other financial platforms and services is way to improve the customer experience.

“One example we use a lot around here is we want to be involved in a client’s home buying journey, not the mortgage journey,” he says. “The more we partner with others in the financial ecosystem, the more we’re able to execute on that idea. We don’t want to just be the place where you go when you need your mortgage, but a partner that’s with you for the whole journey.”