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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 23, 2021 • Issue 21:08:02

Readers Speak: What's an API?

I know that API stands for application programming interface, which is kind of an awkward phrase, but I don't really grasp the function. I'm new to the industry. All the terminology is overwhelming. Becoming a true payments pro someday seems out of reach.

Holly Boyan, Merchant Level Salesperson


People who enter the industry often encounter a steep learning curve, and many of them persist and succeed. It's good to take it one step at a time and also realize that this industry is always changing. That means we all encounter new concepts and technical innovations on the job, and we all have to keep learning as we go. You are not alone.

So to answer your question, here's an excerpt from IBM's website that provides a clear explanation:

"An application programming interface, or API, enables companies to open up their applications’ data and functionality to external third-party developers, business partners, and internal departments within their companies. This allows services and products to communicate with each other and leverage each other’s data and functionality through a documented interface. Developers don't need to know how an API is implemented; they simply use the interface to communicate with other products and services. API use has surged over the past decade, to the degree that many of the most popular web applications today would not be possible without APIs.

"APIs offer security by design because their position as middleman facilitates the abstraction of functionality between two systems—the API endpoint decouples the consuming application from the infrastructure providing the service. API calls usually include authorization credentials to reduce the risk of attacks on the server, and an API gateway can limit access to minimize security threats. Also, during the exchange, HTTP headers, cookies, or query string parameters provide additional security layers to the data."

IBM has more information on how APIs work at www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/api. One step at a time you can learn what you need to thrive in the industry.


Ongoing professional development

How do you manage your ongoing learning to stay abreast of new developments so you can remain competent and competitive as a payments professional? Let us know at greensheet@greensheet.com. end of article

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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