How APIs Help The Financial Industry Keep Up With Apple

Article by Dan Woods


Silicon Valley companies move fast and have essentially learned how to rebuild a car while going 100 miles per hour. Unfortunately, many of the practices that enable this rapid speed violate the core assumptions in industries like financial services. Facebook’s motto: “Move fast, break things” doesn’t really work in a heavily regulated environment that serves as the backbone to our economy.


For example, some of the databases used to serve up your social media or email or other information use a principle called “eventual consistency,” the idea that a database may at times show different information to different users but will eventually be made the same for everyone. This is fine for a free service conveying information about the latest statements of the Doge, but not fine for a bank account.


But at the Apigee FinTech API Summit at the NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square on February 10, all the presenters agreed on one thing: Both established financial services players and new FinTech unicorns must find a way to move at Silicon Valley speeds while maintaining the financial services perfection demanded by customers, regulators, and shareholders.


fintech apis Forbes

Financial Services companies must learn to operate and Silicon Valley Speeds by using APIS. An employee works on a laptop computer as he talks with a customer near a sheet showing accepted methods of payment, including Apple Pay, top left, at an Apple Store in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. Apple Inc. on Thursday launched its smartphone-based payment system in China where the electronic payments market is already dominated by an arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)


The theme of the conference was that APIs provide a way for the financial services industry to move fast, while not loosening up on critical elements like security. “APIs are one of the most important tools in digital business design,” said Peter Wannemacher, an analyst at Forrester who specializes in digital strategy and the financial services industry. “Financial services providers have been relatively slow to recognize and act on APIs as an opportunity to transform their businesses and, ultimately, better win, serve, and retain customers.”


I have been preaching the gospel of APIs for a while through a book that I co-authored with Dan Jacobson and Greg Brail, “APIs: A Strategy Guide.” While the understanding of the central role of APIs in promoting innovation and rapid but stable evolution has been gospel in Silicon Valley, it has only taken hold selectively in the rest of the business world. But the world of financial services seems like it is ready for a variety of reasons.

  • The financial services industry has long used specialized, purpose-built technology for funds transfer and other interactions. While APIs have been used in all parts of the financial services industry for internal development, Amazon Web Services has shown that highly secure, scalable, and reliable services can be supported by generic, public APIs.
  • Companies like Xignite and Tradier have come to market with entire suites of products based on API infrastructure. Xignite offers a full suite of financial data and Tradier offers a brokerage-as-a-service platform, both through APIs.
  • The role of APIs as a way to speed business transformation and promote rapid product development and innovation across technology layers has become more understood.

To this last point, for example, when Apple came calling to First Data, one of the major payment technology companies, about implementing Apple Pay, the project was moving at Silicon Valley speed. First Data didn’t really have the choice to bow out of the project or out of Android Pay, for that matter, which was also implemented at a rapid pace. It was a choice of go fast or die.


In conversations at the FinTech API Summit, it became clear that the leaders in the financial services industry are making new organizational models and innovative strategies work with the help of the agility and pace layering enabled by clever use of API infrastructure.


“We are not just making a transition from a technology standpoint; our goal is to serve consumers better where they are interacting, and APIs have been crucial to our ability to support new services like Apple Pay and Android Pay, which keep us growing,” said Patrick Howard, Director Product Management, First Data.


In a sense, the massive divergence between the need for security and reliability in the foundational applications in financial services and the breakneck pace of product development in the space shows in a crystal clear way the role that APIs play in accelerating digital transformations...


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In the foreign metal market and the world of international rates, currencies play the crucial role of acting as the medium of exchange in the transactions that take place.

Currencies like the United States dollar, the Euro, or the British Pound are commonly used around the world in order to get a metal rate. Some companies that offer precious metal live and historical rates have exposed their APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to allow developers to integrate current and historical metal rates, currency conversion, or other capabilities into their applications.

In order to know about precious metals live and historical rates, there’s a lot of APIs available online, and if you want to try one, Barchart is going to be one of your first options. But if you take a look at what else is in the market, you’ll find alternatives so many great alternatives:

Xignite Market Data Cloud Platform

Xignite Market Data as a Service was one of the first market data services built to run in AWS and they are one of the few vendors that is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner with a Financial Services Competency.

With more than a decade of cloud expertise in building, scaling and operating cloud-based market data technology, it is no surprise that leading financial services and capital markets firms rely on this company to empower their journey to the cloud. Their Metals API Service offers real-time prices and quotes for metals including Gold, Silver, Palladium, Platinum and other base metals. In addition to real-time precious metals prices, the service provides daily London Fixing prices as well as historical precious metal prices and metal news. 

Xignite Cloud APIs are sourced from leading providers such as FactSet and Morningstar as well as Xignite’s own curated, high-quality data.

Read the article Top 3 Alternatives for Barchart Precious Metals Rates


Each year, Bobsguide asks the market to vote for fintech companies they believe stand out from the competition – those who have gone the extra mile in terms of development and servicing their clients. Xignite is proud to be listed as the "Best API Management" vendor on the Bobsguide 2020 Rankings.

Read article on Bobsguide


Web services data provider Xignite captured the AFTAs judges’ attention on the infrastructure front with its release of Xignite Enterprise Microservices in July 2020, a suite of cloud-based microservices for data management, storage and distribution in the cloud, designed to help financial firms migrate from monolithic legacy data architectures to more agile and less expensive cloud services and data sources.

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Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today revealed the results of its collaboration with StockCharts, a leading technical analysis and financial charting platform for online retail investors. The collaboration involved a move from an on-premise market data provider to Xignite’s cloud-native technology hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Download the case study containing the full results.

StockCharts requires vast quantities of financial data to power its visualization, charting and tracking tools, which investors use to analyze the markets to help with investment decisions. The company was frustrated by the limits of its on-premise market data center, which was forcing the team to make architectural decisions based on what its data center could handle in terms of speed and storage, not on their technology. Its previous market data provider was just starting to build out some cloud offerings, but they were far away from what the business required. StockCharts decided to migrate its infrastructure to the AWS cloud and partner with Xignite to gain access to endlessly scalable market and financial data delivered through innovative cloud APIs.

The collaboration made an immediate impact as StockCharts was able to expand its offerings and customer base by pursuing growth strategies enabled by Xignite’s cloud-based approach, which provides easy access to data and eliminates architectural limits on storage and speed.

The pandemic provided further validation. Seattle-based StockCharts was in one of the first areas hit by COVID-19 and was forced to quickly shut down its office. Pandemic-driven market volatility followed and StockCharts customers wanted to visualize what was happening. The company’s ability to scale quickly and accommodate a high volume of new requests would not have been possible without Xignite.

“The move to the AWS cloud and Xignite has unlocked tremendous new potential for us in a lot of architectural ways, and has given us a lot of data options that we could not even consider before,” said Grayson Roze, Vice President of Operations at StockCharts. “It relieved us of the burden of figuring out how to source things. Instead, we know exactly where we need to go to get the data and can access it instantly. That is a huge, huge benefit for our business.”

“We are proud to have played a role in transforming how StockCharts approaches data,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO and Founder of Xignite. “The events of this year unleashed a massive spike in retail trading and a host of other unexpected forces that reinforced the need for financial services firms to leverage the cloud. Despite the disruption of this year, StockCharts was positioned for success, and we look forward to continuing to deliver our financial and market data solutions to the industry at large.”


Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2006 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has been continually refining its technology to help fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs and leverage a suite of specialized microservices-delivered modules to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit or follow on Twitter @xignite