GSMA-led industry collaboration launches updated harmonised API Specification for mobile money

We are proud to release a new version 1.1 of the Mobile Money API Specification, advancing the mobile money industry towards the use of harmonised APIs that are easy and secure. Since its inception in 2016, the Mobile Money API has already been adopted by a range of providers across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and is currently being used in these regions by real-world merchants and customers. In 2019, the GSMA and the mobile money industry have renewed our commitment to promoting the harmonised API Specification, of which this version 1.1 is a testimony.

Mobile money continues to grow exponentially across developing markets, having surpassed one billion accounts in 2019. Enabling seamless integrations of third-parties with mobile money platforms is a key catalyst to drive this growth. It also presents major opportunities for financial inclusion by enabling underserved people to obtain wider access to critical products. The GSMA Mobile Money API is an initiative developed through collaboration between the mobile money industry and the GSMA, which provides a harmonised API Specification for all the common mobile money use cases which is both easy to use and secure. Using best practices from the technology industry in API design and security, it aims to simplify and accelerate integration with mobile money platforms and stimulate the growth of the ecosystem.

The APIs can be used by service providers, agents, merchants and financial institutions through multiple channels such as apps, POS and e-commerce. It supports the core set of mobile money use cases such as funds transfers, merchant payments, bill payments including instant payment notification, account management, international transfers including quotations, bulk transactions and cash-in-cash-out.

The key design principles of the API include the use of REST architectural principles, the use of the JSON data format for requests and responses, and the provision of a set of well-defined objects that are abstracted from the underlying object representations held in different mobile money systems. The API also defines a standard set of transaction types and other key enumerations, uses ISO international standards for enumerations such as currency and country codes, and provides support for supplementary metadata and sub-types for properties specific to different mobile money providers.

What’s new in version 1.1?

Mobile Money API v1.1 is based on industry feedback over the years, culminating in an industry convening at the end of 2019 where this release was finalised in agreement with key members of the industry. The new release adds improved support for mobile money use cases through API updates and technical improvements, an update to the API framework, and improved security guidelines.

Details of all the updates can be found in the Specification 1.1 change logs in the assets as well as on the Developer Portal. Some highlights include APIs for bill companies, a new Authorisation Codes API, a new Transaction API which allows the specifying of transaction type, and a new Account Balance ‘Self’ API. It also includes better support for asynchronous operations, where clients can specify a callback URL if required and receive a full representation of the created resource in the response.

As part of the new release, the Specification has been updated to support the latest Open API Specification Framework version 3.0 which introduced major improvements in support for callback operations. In addition, there is now support for multiple types of account identifiers to be passed in the URL of requests, including new identifiers added for this version such as service provider, store ID, bank name, bank account title and email address. As well as a range of more minor changes, fixes and improvements to the original specification.

To complement the new release, we are also releasing an updated version of the Security Design and Implementation Guidelines which will help developers to create a secure and robust implementation of their services. The API security guidelines ensure that best practices are applied to the connection between the API client and the API gateway, and to authenticating an end-user to the mobile money platform.

Mobile Money API Developer Portal

Alongside the API assets, the GSMA is releasing new versions of the developer tools. The Mobile Money API Developer Portal provides access to the Mobile Money API Specification assets and a full suite of developer documentation and tools to facilitate developers implementing the specification, whether they are Mobile Money Providers or Service Providers building solutions for the mobile money ecosystem.

The developer documentation includes:

  • Developer guides for getting started with the Mobile Money API covering API Fundamentals and API Behaviour & Error Handling;
  • Reference documentation for all APIs and supporting objects included in the specification;
  • Security design and implementation guidelines; and
  • FAQs & glossaries.

The developer tools include:

  • The GSMA Simulator which 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;
  • An example Authentication Gateway which adopts the best practice security recommendations of OAuth 2.0; and
  • Use case examples which include Postman Collections enabling developers to test the simulated APIs.

What’s next? A living roadmap driven by industry collaboration

Finally, we are committed to continuing to collaborate with the industry to maintain a living and relevant roadmap for the API which reflects mobile money requirements as the industry continues to evolve and grow. To this end, we have already collated an interesting range of roadmap proposals for the API. Also, we are setting up specification governance and collaboration structures which will scope and agree the evolution of the API specification moving forwards.

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. So reach out to engage with us and we can arrange a conference call or meeting to discuss the value of the programme for you and how we can help you to adopt the API for your business. We can also provide you technical implementation and integration support, such as developer support or workshops, to help you implement the API or to integrate to an API compliant platform.

Once you have adopted the API, you can also benefit from our aftermarket support to help you go live in your chosen market. In addition to joint marketing opportunities with the GSMA to celebrate successful implementations of the API, we may be able to host developer events to engage your ecosystem to create a wide range of innovative mobile money integrated products.

For all technical documentation and developer tools, visit our Mobile Money Developer Portal here: https://developer.mobilemoneyapi.io. Here you will find developer guides, API documentation, security guidelines, FAQs, glossaries, and all the developer tools you require to help you implement or integrate the API.

Visit the Mobile Money API 1.1. Specification Visit the Developer Portal

For more information, contact us at support.mmapi@gsma.com.

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