Of the challenges faced by online businesses in Kenya including warehouse logistics, ontime delivery nightmare, and risks associated with cancellation of orders, payment methods top the list. Most Kenyans do not use or trust to use credit and debit cards. The payment they would rather opt for is MPESA and now Equitel, but the problem with MPESA is that it cannot be integrated within the online business payment platform. For example, to pay for Uber via MPESA, a customer is required to leave the UberX App and go to SIM toolkit in order to access MPESA. EazzyAPI by Equity Bank wants to do away this nightmare.
EazzyAPI is part of the solutions within the Eazzy Banking Suit rolled out to give application developers, businesses, institutions and payment providers the full capabilities of a digital bank. Even though Safaricom announced that it had made public the MPESA API, according to most application developers that we have contacted the MPESA API doesn’t allow for integration of MPESA within payment platforms of third party online businesses. Take the case of oCharge that wants you to buy Airtime through their App, if MPESA API was indeed public, then oCharge developers could have found a way of importing the Buy Goods within the Lipa na MPESA to oCharge App – thus saving airtime buyers time and effort.
With the EazzyAPI, applications such as oCharge, UberX, PesaPal, Jumia.co.ke, and even classified sites like OLX can now include EazzyPay as one of the payment methods, and when a customer chooses to pay using EazzyPay, they do so within the e-commerce or classified site/app without having to leave the app to let’s say EazzyApp.
Sorry, until now I have assumed every reader knows what an API is. In the very basic sense that you as an ordinary person can understand, an API or Application Program Interface is a system in a software application/program e.g. Operating System or Office Suite that typically allow other applications to “import” parts of the software/application to be available for use in a third party application. For example Google Maps API has allowed third party applications like UberX to use Google Maps within UberX App – without a user of UberX having to leave the UberX App to access Google Maps services when requesting for Uber ride or monitoring an Uber trip. The other use of API that you may be accustomed to is when you sign up into a new online account through Facebook/Twitter etc. Traditionally people used to sign up for these accounts through a tedious registration process, but today APIs have allowed platforms to incorporate sign ups through Facebook/Twitter etc.
When it comes to payment platforms, APIs have allowed online stores to easily integrate credit and debit cards payment solutions within their platforms. For example if you go to Amazon, you will not be required to leave the Amazon website to VISA website in order to effect payment using VISA cards. The ease with which you can make payments within Amazon using your VISA card means buyers at Amazon who have VISA cards find it convenient to buy goods from Amazon.
As explained earlier, such conveniences are still lacking in our Kenyan online businesses payment platforms – at least as far as MPESA is concerned. But now that Equity Bank has unveiled its EazzyAPI to the public, we expect all online stores, Institutions like Schools or Government bodies, and the many application developers to incorporate EazzyPay within their websites, web applications, and mobile application to further ease the process of online transactions.
For example EazzyAPI now allows eCitizen to incorporate EazzyPay as part of their payment options. If eCitizen decides to take advantange of EazzyAPI, then you as a citizen who requires eCitizen services will not have to leave eCitizen portal, go to your MPESA, make a payment using the MPESA SIM toolkit, get the MPESA confirmation SMS, to thereafter head back to eCitizen to enter the code, but you will only need to enter your payment details right within the eCitizen portal.
The advantages of EazzyAPI are numerous, and as Equity Bank explains in their website, the several APIs allow for:
• Funds transfer (within and outside Equity)
• Airtime top up from any telco at a discount
• Pay bills, goods and services
• Instant Equity account opening and much more
For further information on EazzyAPI, specifically for application developers, check out this link.