Krungsri Consumer: Preparing for the cardless future of finance with APIs

Editor’s note:Today’s post comes from Surin Asawachaisittigul, head of open APIs at Krungsri Consumer a subsidiary of Krungsri Bank, the fifth largest bank in Thailand, and focuses on personal loan and credit card services. Using APIs, Krungsri Consumer is taking an established bank into the digital future of finance.

The finance industry is changing quickly in the digital age. Customers no longer want to pay for purchases in cash. Even credit cards are starting to lose ground as customers turn to cardless mobile payment systems.

At Krungsri Consumer, we believe that innovation is key to succeeding in a rapidly evolving financial industry. Our strategy to stay ahead of competitors and enhance customer experiences is to offer more digital services and connect to more partners. That means switching from a traditional monolithic architecture to flexible microservices generated using OpenAPI.

We knew that we needed a robust API management system to serve as a strong foundation for our microservices architecture. It also needed to be secure and easy to use. We looked at many platforms, and the Apigee API Management Platform stood out for its developer portal and strong monetization features. Apigee gives us all of the tools that we need to grow our business and keep pace with changing customer demands and new competitive pressures.

Connecting with partners twice as fast

Our developers weren’t very familiar with APIs, so we teamed up with Apigee partner Tangerine to help us develop our first APIs. Working with Apigee turned out to be very straightforward, and our developers quickly learned how to structure and build APIs through Apigee.

The security features were extremely important for us as a financial institution. Apigee makes it very easy for us to apply API security standards such as OAuth2 to secure our APIs. The add-on Apigee Sense module will further help us protect our APIs from unwanted and malicious traffic.

We started by releasing five APIs related to our points program. Customers earn points when they make purchases with their credit card under Krungsri Consumer group. Our new APIs allow partners to authenticate accounts, look up point balances, and redeem points. Customers can easily pay with points just by shopping online.

Connecting with more partners benefits our customers, as they have a wider selection of products and services that they can easily purchase online using their points. For the partners, it means more customers who shop on their website or app.

The Apigee developer portal simplifies how partners connect with us through APIs. We can store all of our documentation in the portal, so partners can quickly learn how APIs work, what APIs are available, and whether they are free or if there are associated costs. We’ve had a great response to our developer portal so far.

Most importantly, the developer portal makes it much faster to onboard partners. It could take six months to integrate with partners’ systems before Apigee. Now partners can connect with our services in weeks. Some partners are new to APIs, so they need a lot of extra support to get up and running. But even these customers are getting onboarded in less than three months—about half the time as before.

Next, we’re planning to focus on APIs related to payment services. Once these APIs are live, e-commerce partners will be able to offer full or installment payment options through all credit cards of Krungsri Consumer (Krungsri Credit Card, Central The1 Credit Card, Tesco Lotus Credit Card and Krungsri First Choice Card).

Setting the stage for monetization

As a company offering credit cards and personal loans, we have access to a great deal of unique customer data. We’re developing new business models that will turn this data into revenue streams while maintaining customer privacy. For example, one new business that we’re working on is a credit check service, using a model that our data scientists built in-house. Once complete, partners will have the option to run a credit check on a customer using our APIs.

We plan to take advantage of the monetization features in Apigee to drive revenue from these types of data services. In fact, these monetization features were one of the top reasons that we decided to work with Apigee. Apigee not only streamlines setting up API monetization, but it enables partners to subscribe to an API by themselves through the developer portal.

Apigee is opening many doors for other types of future business opportunities. We can connect with new fintech services and startups that also use APIs. We can lead the market with new cardless payment services. And we can even expand services abroad to customers outside of Thailand. With our new API ecosystem, we’re ready for any challenge that may come so that we can give customers and partners the most innovative financial experiences possible.