Essentially it is software talking to other software behind the scenes and is complete invisible to the user. It enables actions to happen that require the intervention of more than one piece of software.
For instance if you make a purchase online and enter your card details onto the website concerned, an API is used to take those card details and send them elsewhere; checking they are legitimate and accurate before allowing the transaction to complete. So the API will allow for checks with your bank or card issuer to confirm the details provided are correct. All of this will happen without you having to do or see anything.
In the case of the PTX verify product for example, the API opens up data and functionality to other developers, our customers and other businesses. It is increasingly the way in which companies exchange data, services and complex resources, both internally, externally with partners, and openly with the public.
Through APIs, applications and widgets can be built on top of databases without compromising the integrity of that data.
- Google has an API (http://code.google.com/more/)
- Facebook has an API (https://developers.facebook.com/)
- Twitter has an API (https://dev.twitter.com/docs)
- Salesforce has an API (http://www.salesforce.com/us/developer/docs/api/index.htm)
- Bottomline Technologies has APIs for its customers; PTX verify & DDM for example.
APIs are nothing new but have come to the forefront with the rise of mobile working and mobile applications.
For information about using the PTX Verify API, refer to https://docs.pt-x.com/.