Create a payment experience that looks like the rest of your site using a payment API. APIs (application programming interface) enable the seamless integration of software to share data. With payments specifically, APIs have transformed how businesses and consumers move money.

Topics covered in this article:

  • What is a payment API?
  • Use Cases for a Payment API
  • Business Benefits of an API for Payments
  • RESTful API Examples
  • The Dwolla API
  • Developer Documentation and API Resources

What is a payment API?

A payment API (application programming interface) is an API that allows businesses to seamlessly manage transactions on their platform. The Dwolla API will connect your business to the U.S. banking infrastructure for sending, receiving or facilitating transfers from account to account.

A payment platform API is not a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a service to authorize credit card payments. The payment gateway validates the identity of the customer and packages the transaction securely before it gets sent to the payment processor. Transactions by payment gateway are also referred to as card-not-present.

Use Cases for a Payment API

Much like other API use cases, innovators are changing the world using payment APIs and account-to-account payment solutions. Common use cases include programming and automating sophisticated payment workflows.

  • Disbursements – Sending funds to your end users.
  • Receivables – Collecting funds from your end users.
  • Facilitating Payments – Enabling two users to transact on a platform.
  • Me to Me – Move money between accounts owned by a single user.

Additionally, businesses can use the flexibility of a bank transfer API to configure a solution to support a combination of these payment flows while using a variety of payment methods based on their needs.

Business Benefits of a Payment Platform API

The ability to programmatically initiate bank transfers from account-to-account can be a driver of growth for organizations. With a bank transfer API, a business has more control over what the experience looks like.

Let’s highlight six specific benefits:

  • More affordable transactions compared to card payments or wire transfers.
  • Automated payments for recurring transactions or individual refunds, replacing manual processes.
  • Higher-confidence in payment confirmations (ACH returns are not credit card chargebacks).
  • Better insights into the status of a payment (build automation with near real-time webhook notifications).
  • Scalable technology that supports growth as volumes increase.
  • Matches the user experience of an existing business operation with existing payment processes.

RESTful API Examples

A RESTful API is a style of API that uses HTTP requests to access and use data. This architectural style is more suitable for efficient internet usage and can be built using various programming languages. APIs allow different platforms to connect and share information to carry out specific tasks.

Dwolla gives you a modern REST API for account-to-account payments. The API incorporates hypermedia (links) which allows Dwolla’s business logic to stay out of your application. The flexibility and configurability is what makes it so appealing to businesses looking for account-to-account payments.

An Introduction to the Dwolla API

What can a business expect in terms of an onboarding experience with a payment API?

This question has two different answers. If your business is onboarding another business to your platform, this documentation outlines the basics.

If you are asking about onboarding your business with the Dwolla API, we have resources for that, too. Here’s an integration roadmap to help you better understand the timeline of specifically implementing Dwolla’s API.

After you create a Dwolla account and you start integrating, use this resource for guidance on specific aspects of the API integration.

What types of customers can be created in the Dwolla API?

There are four different customer types that can be created in the Dwolla API. Verified Customer Records can be created for Personal and Business customers, plus Unverified Customer Records and Receive Only customers. The Dwolla Developer Portal includes documentation explaining the specific nuances of each customer type, from transaction limits to functionality.

How can I tell if the payment API provider is reputable?

We recommend looking at third-party review sites and customer case studies to learn how they have experienced value with a specific API provider. Additionally you can use this resource to help you better understand what to consider when choosing a payment service provider.

Dwolla API Developer Documentation

  • API References – Implement a RESTful and reliable API to connect your business to the U.S. banking infrastructure.
  • Step-by-Step Guides – Step-by-step guides that walkthrough best practices of implementing Dwolla’s payment API.
  • Key Concepts – Fundamental building blocks of integrating with Dwolla’s technology.
  • Testing Environment – Start building in the sandbox for free. From creating customers to initiating transactions, get a feel for how our API works before going live in production.
  • Developer Support – Explore, discuss and ask questions about the Dwolla API.

Additional API Resources


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