API access for non customers

With the release this week of the OBWG report into banking APIs i’ve been thinking of other things we could do with our API that would add value.

These aren’t on the Mondo roadmap (afaik), there just ideas I’ve been thinking of.

Please let me know what you think, what concerns you’d have and what other similar ideas you’ve thought of.

Access to Reference data. We could make available data we’ve curated like:

  • FX Rates on certain days
  • Merchant logos
  • Other merchant details like address

Anonymised data (if we’re super confident it’s not in anyway identifiable)

  • Spend by location/time/merchant

Merchant Access to our API
I like the idea that merchants could register as owners of a particular terminal/store, probably confirmed by making a series of small transactions on a mondo card (say 6 sub-one pound transactions that we use as a one time token.)
Merchants would then be sent a webhook (and have API access) to some data when a Mondo card is used at this terminal/store. The card owners details would be hashed in some way, unique to the customer and store combination.
This would allow merchants to build things like:

  • Loyalty cards (we could have a refund-this-txn with this message/image endpoint)
  • The ability to send offers to mondo customers who’ve just used their store. (similar to how stores print offers on the back of their receipts.)
  • The ability to send line item receipts to enrich the transaction (how amazing would it be to get the calories data added to your next Pret purchase, or the warranty info for your next 4K TV.)

We could make all these things public, or we could restrict it to Mondo Customers/developers (all the better to block it, if we discover abuse…)

I’m incredibly excited by what our hackathon attendees have built already, but i think there’s so much more we could do with APIs, beyond just providing You access to Your Data.

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Merchant access excites me the most.
Not sure about the usefulness of loyalty card integration since VAS in Apple Pay exists and is likely to be implemented wider than this unless there’s a standard you can hook on to (though simple “You earned x points on this, you now have y.” on transactions could be nice), I’m personally really not a fan of offers being sent to me in any way but automatically added receipts that link to items on the merchant’s website (be it nutritional information or pages on an online store) along with order numbers sounds amazing.

From a customer perspective, I would be able to quickly know EXACTLY what I spent money on and maybe track down why the amount is different/high without having to dig around externally (I’m thinking Amazon orders, TFL journeys, subscriptions and bills listing what plan you’re on) or continually deal with digitising paper receipts.

If split transaction categories get added, this data can be used to either automatically or manually quickly split transactions up in to entertainment/groceries/eating out. Think buying a Blu-ray, something for an upcoming holiday and clothes from Sainsbury’s in the same transaction as your weekly shop, then going to the café. That would span five categories at the same merchant with two transactions. For split bills, this data can be used to divide up transactions by item if someone is paying me back for things I bought for them as well as flat percentages (most common for food/drink).

From a merchant perspective, this could potentially lead to fewer customers querying transactions with their bank, potentially not needing to even print some percentage of paper receipts or provide some kind of receipt in places that batch up microtransactions such as TFL or arcades with contactless readers, linking people back into your app, etc. Downside is that the merchants are now giving item purchase data to a 3rd party, not sure how happy they would be about that.

API in the form described or not, I think that rich transactions with in-app receipts is the way forward. It unlocks whole categories of possibilities while providing genuine user benefit, extending the core functionality that Mondo is building today. It would be a big undertaking but screenshots of emails and pictures/scans of paper receipts feels like a temporary solution to the bigger problem, though you should be able to fall back to it.

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Big +1 to merchants being able to push data to Mondo. We (Cuvva) would probably use it to attach the policy documentation from policies.

Key issues there from my perspective:

  • need to be able to uniquely identify users and match them back to our internal user IDs somehow
  • I’d prefer to push data to some kind of intermediate organization which Mondo (and other banks) can pull data from. I could see Mondo setting that up though perhaps?

I’m also very much in favor of being as open as possible with APIs - i.e. being a Mondo customer shouldn’t be required in my opinion.