Mobile money continues to grow exponentially across developing markets – the GSMA State the Industry Report 2021 highlights include 1.2 billion accounts in 2020, with 310 providers responsible for transacting $2.1 billion every day. Enabling seamless integrations of third parties with mobile money platforms is still one of the key drivers for industry growth and increasing financial inclusion for users. The GSMA Mobile Money API initiative can support the industry in this aim by simplifying and accelerating mobile money platform integrations.
The GSMA has released a new version (1.2) of the Mobile Money API Specification, advancing the scope and accessibility of harmonised APIs for the mobile money industry. Since the last 1.1 release in 2020 the GSMA has been increasing engagement and adoption with providers across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. During the last year, the GSMA has also continued collaboration with the industry to advance the specification, including hosting a remote convening with key industry stakeholders from mobile money providers, technology platform providers, and ecosystem third parties. Several proposals from this collaboration have come together in this release.
What’s new in API Specification 1.2?
Use Case Views
We have evolved the API specification from the existing single technical specification view to provide additional API provider and API consumer perspectives for specific use case views for the following 8 use cases supported by the API: Merchant Payments, Disbursements, International Transfers, P2P Transfers, Recurring Payments, Account Linking, Bill Payments, Agent Services (including Cash-In and Cash-Out). This will enable ecosystem players to easily see which parts of the specification are of interest to them, and more easily implement the relevant APIs using the single use case specification definitions provided.
The GSMA has created an online community which is available to all members of the mobile money ecosystem who are interested in collaborating on common APIs, from where we shared Request for Comments for new functionality for the 1.2 release and incorporated industry feedback into this final version.
The 1.2 API adds improved support for mobile money use cases through new APIs and API updates for Accounts, Transactions, Bills, & Quotations, Mandates and Authentication Codes, as well as technical improvements to the specification. Some highlights are:-
- New API to allow mobile money customer accounts to be created.
- Mobile Money customer accounts can also be updated where necessary, for example to update the KYC verification status of a customer.
- Ability to update the status of a transaction to support two stage transaction processing.
- Mobile Money providers can submit bill payments to service providers without a bill reference.
- Bill Payments can now be retrieved from a service provider.
- Usage of date fields has now been harmonised across APIs with consistent usage of creation, modification, and request dates.
- New fields for Quotations and Transactions to identify origin and destination of requests.
- Improvements to API readability with harmonised ordering of fields and additional API and field descriptions.
Full Details of all the updates can be found in the Specification 1.2 Change List in the developer portal.
Alongside the 1.2 specification definition and description files, all the freely available GSMA developer assets provided to the industry have also been updated to support the new 1.2 release.
The GSMA Mobile Money API Developer Portal provides access to the Mobile Money API Specification assets and now includes a full suite of API use case based developer guides, API reference documentation, security guidelines and tools to facilitate developers, whether you are a Mobile Money Provider implementing the API or a Service Provider building solutions for the mobile money ecosystem.
The GSMA Mobile Money Simulator sandbox environment provides an example simulated API implementation developed to facilitate API adoption and testing, thereby decreasing implementation effort and time to market for Mobile Money Providers and ecosystem Service Providers.
Together with an example API Gateway, these developer tools now include a full suite of Use Case Scenarios with unauthenticated and authenticated Postman collections for each API use case, easily enabling developers to test the simulated APIs for use cases of relevance to them.
Initiatives to support API 1.2
API Compliance Verification Service
Building on the introduction of API use case specification definitions in API 1.2, the GSMA will soon launch an API Compliance Verification Service designed to support API Providers to comply with the API use cases which are relevant to their business. API providers who can demonstrate compliance will benefit from enhanced trust in their solutions helping them to attract third-party service providers to their platform, and service providers who wish to integrate with the API provider will benefit from a simpler integration process. The GSMA will provide a freely available test and compliance platform for the industry to both test and request compliance verification for their solutions. More to follow soon!
The GSMA Mobile Money API as an enabler for UN SDGs
The mobile money industry has long been associated with supporting the financial inclusion of underserved users, and previous GSMA reports have highlighted how mobile money services can contribute to UNSDGs through the provision of digital services. To coincide with this new API release, the GSMA has researched on how a harmonised API ecosystem built through the use of the GSMA Mobile Money API can address some of the remaining barriers in reaching underserved users. This will amplify mobile money’s role in achieving the SDGs by supporting the scaling of mobile money ecosystems and use cases. The report considers each of the API use cases and how they can be concretely linked to specific SDGs.
Get in Touch!
The GSMA is looking forward to driving the mobile money industry forwards by increasing adoption of the Mobile Money API through dedicated engagement with mobile money providers. We are also committed to collaborate through industry working groups to enhance and expand the API into new areas as mobile money industry API services increase. So engage with us on firstname.lastname@example.org or at the GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab if you would like more information.