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By: Mariah Young,

In the age of apps and APIs, there are many intriguing solutions going to market each day. We often get the question, is there an API to help me build a product that enables my users to send money from one peer to another peer?

Yes, there is. Dwolla’s Access API can help with just that. But before we go too far, let’s take a step back.

Incorporating “peer-to-peer” transfers, going beyond Venmo

Often, we think of Venmo or Square Cash when we think of peer-to-peer transfers. Clearly. those products have seen great success and allow peers to send and receive money easily. However, there are a lot of other use cases where integrating peer-to-peer transfers into your product can be a unique and impactful value-add.

For example, there are applications for managing roommate expenses or group vacation spending. Both of these examples are more than just apps for paying peers, but they rely on a peer-to-peer transfer functionality. Pay your roommate back for cable or settle up on the dinners and shared expenses from that vacation.

Another example could be with tipping apps—Tiptotem integrated Dwolla’s API just three weeks so people in various circles could tip each other for services, etc. Finally, Clarity Money uses our ACH API so people move funds within its own app to encourage personal savings.ClarityMoney_1

If your platform or application is looking to provide even more functionality to your users, an API that enables peer-to-peer transfers can do just that.

Understanding an API for peer-to-peer transfers

Payments can be a big mystery to people—the ins and outs, ups and downs of properly building out some sort of transfer functionality. Additionally, each type of payments integration can call for different compliance and regulatory concerns. If you’re using credit cards as compared to bank transfers, the boxes you must check on each product offering can be vastly different when mapping out how to build out a payments flow that meets compliance and regulatory concerns, while still offering a delightful user experience.

In peer-to-peer transfers, it’s most logical to have people pay from bank account to bank account, rather than using credit cards. This way, the transaction is more akin to paying cash.

If you’re on the hunt for an API for peer-to-peer transfers, Dwolla’s Access API is the right solution. We’ve seen a myriad of integrations channeling this idea, and we can help you navigate the ACH system.

Often times, developers or savvy entrepreneurs believe that they can scrape together a solution on their own, but, with payments, that path can get cumbersome and expensive. With a third party API, the banking relationships and many of the compliance concerns have already been vetted, so you won’t have to go through the rigamarole of courting banks, etc. Further, our API has been well-received and our documentation has been optimized to be as developer friendly as possible.

It’s important to note that you also need to consider which area of the world you want to operate in. For example, Dwolla’s Access API serves the US only as it functions using the ACH network. For other countries, you’ll need to find the right solution that serves that specific banking system, as well as the corresponding compliance and regulation considerations.

Features and functionality of an API for peer-to-peer transfers

The first thing to identify is what type of peer-to-peer transfer you’re looking to incorporate. Think about your users and the value-add experience you’d like to provide. Here is some functionality the to consider when integrating an API for this use case:

To elaborate on the bullets above, the first step in a peer-to-peer transfer is creating accounts for your customers to transact under. With Dwolla’s Access API, the onboarding process is branded to match your product’s look and feel And through the Dashboard & Admin, you can track and report on accounts being created.

Next on the list, the process for verifying bank accounts is also white labeled and baked into your platform or application process. Using Dwolla’s instant bank account verification (IAV), ensures the authenticity of funding sources seamlessly.

Users will also be able to initiate transfers, and from a technical perspective, once a users initiates this action it only takes a few calls to the API. Dwolla applications can subscribe to webhook notifications, so you can enjoy real-time status updates on transactions. With webhook notifications, an antiquated ACH system gains a modern upgrade.

Two final value-adds of the Access API for peer-to-peer functionality is the support on mitigating risk, checking in on account balances and allowing users to hold a balance that’s displayed within your app.

For more information on the API or peer-to-peer functionality, reach out below.

Get started with ACH transfers

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Financial institutions play an important role in the Dwolla network.

Dwolla, Inc. is an agent of Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank and all funds associated with your account in the Dwolla network are held in pooled accounts at Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank. These funds are not eligible for individual insurance, including FDIC insurance and may not be eligible for share insurance by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. Dwolla, Inc. is the operator of a software platform that communicates user instructions for funds transfers to Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank.