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I spend a lot of time looking through the websites of API companies, trying to understand not just the way they do business, but their role in their overall industry, or possibly how they influence other industries.

I have been spending more time looking through the payment API space lately, and recently pulled together a list of key players in this space, as well as the common building blocks being used across the sector.

Much like other significant areas of APIs like cloud computing, messaging, geo, and social, I can’t help but consider the impact these payment APIs will have across all business sectors, and our government.

The 50 building blocks I identified as part of my payment API research will not just be the essential components of the payment API space, but will ultimately be some of the building blocks of the API economy itself--take a look.

Merchant Account - Creation, management and integration with merchant accounts that are required to process credit cards.
Bank Account - Integration with existing bank accounts, for linking with payment workflows.
Processor / Gateways - Access to multiple payent processors and gateways in multiple countries.
Currencies - Ability to conduct transactions in multiple currencies, handling all the conversions for developers.
Credit Card Transactions - The option to process major credit cards.
ACH Transactions - The option to process transactions over the ACH network.
Checks / Wire Transactions - The option to do bank to bank, wire and check transactions.
Cash Transactions - The option to accept cash payments at retail locations.
Virtual Transactions - The option to accept transactions for credits via virtual accounts.
Aggregate Transactions - Tools for performing multiple transactions at once.
Credit Card Reader - A physical credit card reading device.
Credit Card Scan / Picture - A mobile phone scan or picture of a credit card.
One Click / One Touch / Instant Buy - The ability to enable single action transaction
Recurring Payments - The ability to perform recurring or subscription based transactions.
Pre-Payments - The ability to setup payment(s) prior to designated payment date.
Metered Payments - Payments based upon some metered usage of a resource.
Estimates - Estimations of payments, with payment handling at designated time.
Invoices - Physical or online invoicing of customers as request for payment.
Mobile Billing - The ability to perform transaction against mobile users monthly phone bill.
Social Payments - An option for making and accepting payments via social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Email Payments - Tools for sending and receiving transactions via email.
SMS Payments - Tools for sending and receiving transactions via SMS.
Carts - Ready to go online shopping cart solutions to support payment services.
Checkout - Ready to go checkout pages, to support payment services.
Forms - Embeddable HTML and JavaScript forms to conduct transactions.
Buttons - Embeddable HTML and JavaScript buttons to initiate transactions.
Marketplace - The ability to facilitate marketplace style transactions between sellers and vendors.
Fraud Protection - Tools and services that assist developers in preventing payment fraud.
PCI Compliance - Tools and services that help developers achieve PCI compliance.
Encryption - Providing necessary encryption tools and services to protect communications.
Sandbox - A safe environment for developers to develop applications against, ensuring quality of service in production environments.
Webhooks - Registering of developer provider URLs for making HTTP calls when specific events occur.
Push Notifications - A push notification framework for developers to use when delivering push features in their applications.
Barcodes - The ability to generate barcodes that represent potential physical or virtual transactions.
Products - Separate systems for managing products that transactions will include.
Orders - Separate systems for managing orders in which transactions support.
Customers - Separate systems for managing customers who make transactions.
Coupons - Separate systems that issue coupons which can be applied against transactions and affect the balance.
Loyalty - Separate systems for managing customer loyalty programs.
Expenses - Separate systems or managing expenses that involve transactions.
Time Tracking - Separate systems for tracking time associated with transactions.
Cards - The ability to issue physical or virtual gift, membership and other types of cards.
JS Libraries - Supporting Javascript libraries that provide embeddable integration with payment services.
Mobile SDKs - Supporting mobile SDKs for iOS, Android, Windows and others, to facilitate mobile payments.
On-Premise - The ability to deploy payment services on-premise, keeping transaction local.
Cloud - The ability to deploy payment services in the clouds, with centralized security.
3rd Party Shopping Carts - Integration options for popular 3rd party shopping carts.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) Integration - Integration with popular PaaS platforms like Salesforce and Amazon.
Frameworks - Integration with popular programming frameworks like Backbone and Angular.
Automation - Integration with popular API automation platforms like Zapier and IFTTT.

One of these building blocks is the cloud, think about what you get when you take these API driven resources and combine them with the common building blocks of cloud computing? You start seeing being able to see the moving parts of the API economy.

I'm going to work to continue defining the other cornerstone areas I list in the history of APIs, like commerce, social, and mobile, and try to map out the building blocks like have with payments and cloud computing--see what I can learn.




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