A few weeks ago telecom giant MTN announced that they were availing their mobile money API directly to developers, much to the delight of tech-prenuers and business owners.
API stands for Application Programming Interface and in simple terms is a set of functions and procedures that allow a program to access another service. So what MTN did was make it possible for developers to incorporate MTN mobile money services into their smartphone apps and websites. However, there are already websites and apps that accepts payments through Mobile money, so how have they been doing it?
From the inception of mobile money, developers that want to incorporate it into their applications have had to go through third party companies that reserve the rights to the technology. These companies usually have a set of regulations that subscriber have to fulfill before they can have the API technology and the companies also take a cut off each transaction made by the users of whatever platform has their API. The cost of the cut is often passed on to the final consumer thus making those online transactions a little more costly.
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MTN’s offer of the API to developers disrupts an industry that has been growing over the years by making it easier and faster for developers and technology entrepreneurs to incorporate MoMo pay to their platforms. This means that there is one less hurdle to jump over for innovators and possibly one more incentive to make more cashless payments and purchase more things online now that the costs of transactions might drop by a certain margin