Afinis: New API Finds an Early Adopter Close to Home

Author

George Throckmorton

George Throckmorton

Executive Director

Afinis

Not only has Nacha’s Afinis Interoperability Standards released its newest standardized application programming interface (API), but it also has found an early adopter to put it into action.

First, allow me to provide some background: Afinis is a membership-based governance organization that advances API standardization. It focuses on the rapid delivery of APIs and other financial services standards across the U.S. and globally. Afinis brings diverse collaborators together to build and test solutions, develop implementable and portable standards, and provide thought leadership on advancing interoperability for financial services and enhancing the efficiency and security of today’s modern financial industry.

For example, Afinis’ new Payee Profile API allows a company to obtain correct payment transaction details and remittance requirements to pay another company regardless of enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, business provider network, or financial institution. A payee is any entity receiving a payment (e.g., supplier or billers).

The API’s first iteration was developed in October 2019. An “expanded” version released in September 2020 now includes additional supported payment types: ACH credit, wire transfer, card, RTP, Zelle and check.

The API’s early adopter is none other than Phixius, a new payment information exchange platform developed and operated by Nacha. Announced in February, the online platform integrates technology, rules and participants to exchange payment-related information across all payment types. Nacha began building Phixius in response to industry calls to simplify and automate this process.

Collaboration between Afinis and Phixius allows for interoperable payment information to be secure, standardized, trusted, authenticated, private and auditable. The end result will be for Phixius – along with the financial institutions, fintechs and payments networks that connect to the platform – to become the largest adopter of Afinis standards this year and into 2021.

Phixius will use Afinis’ Payee Profile API for its Electronic Payment Information (EPI) Xchange  service, which is designed to enable the delivery of electronic payments from buyer to seller.

Of course, Afinis benefits from the collaboration, as well. Phixius’ implementation of the Payee Profile API, for example, allows industry players to get a firsthand look at how Afinis APIs behave in real life, which is expected to attract additional organizations looking to implement them.

In addition to Payee Profile, Afinis has a suite of completed APIs, including:

  • ACH Payment Initiation: allows businesses to submit standardized ACH payment instructions to their financial institution.
  • Transaction Status: allows an Originator of an ACH transaction to check the status of a submitted payment instruction.
  • Real-Time Billing Account Number Validation: enables bill pay providers to complete a real-time validation of consumer-entered account numbers directly with the billers.
  • Bank Contact: allows originating financial institutions to quickly find and alert the appropriate contact within a receiving financial institution of potential fraud to prompt further investigation.
  • Account Validation: ensures target accounts are valid and payments are posted as desired.

The next Afinis API slated for release is:

  • Request for Payment or Pay Me: enables a biller to route billing information electronically to any payer through any network.

To test any Afinis APIs, visit www.afinis.org, or to learn more about Afinis and to influence its initiatives by becoming a member, visit www.afinis.org/join-afinis. Afinis membership is open to all organizations interested in the development of API standardization, regardless of size, type or location. Current membership stands at more than 60 organizations and 200 active participants.

Download Afinis’ latest Meeting Summary Report for details and further updates on the group’s current work efforts. To learn more about Phixius, visit phixius.org.