Disclaimer: I work for Nedbank and am extensively involved in the the API Marketplace platform.
In my previous article (The key to your side hustle), I suggested how the humble API could help underpin your startup. In this post, I discuss how to get started with the Nedbank API Marketplace. The objective is to step you through the process to prepare for your first API call. I will also provide some insight into what goes on "behind the scenes" to help streamline your journey.
Step 1: The Marketplace Portal
To get started, navigate to the Nedbank API_Marketplace Portal. Feel free to click around and review some of the content. Remember, like any store, the APIs are products. This is the interface that you and your team will use to:
- understand the product and how it can benefit you;
- determine if it will fit your requirements; and
- learn how to interact with it.
A key difference is that the API Marketplace team encouarges feedback and active participation if there any queries. If you have any questions or would like to discuss a potential use-case, fill out the Contact Us form. If you suddenly find yourself in deeply technical documentation and start to feel overwhelmed, click on the friendly Nedbank logo (top left) or Home link to get back to "English".
Click on the Register your interest button -
Before you submit the form, a few quick notes:
- As much as Nedbank would love to grant all third parties access to the API Marketplace, it is a Financial Institution and the security and privacy of the end customer will always come first.
- As you will note from the form requirements, a company registration number is required. Again, this is a mechanism to understand a bit more about the third party that wants to work with the bank.
- In much the same way that you would not show up to a meeting with a potential investor barefoot, it may also be a good idea to have a company email address instead of using ..@gmail.com. If you are a budding entrepreneuer and really want to come across as a professional outfit, you can sign up for an email domain with a provider like Afrihost from as little as R39/month.
- With that being said, if you are passionate about technology and would like to expand your universe of knowledge and don't have a company (yet), drop me a note. I might know someone who can help.
Once you complete and submit the form, you will see the following:
Behind the Scenes
There is a flurry of activity as your request is received with great joy and anticipation as Nedbank looks forward to working with you. The team will review the request, verify the company information and the reason you would like to access the APIs. Again, following the rule of thumb of not making any "bomb jokes" on an airplane, spend some time and thought on providing details regarding your intended use of the API.
You will receive an email providing a bit more detail regarding the APIs you would like to access and Nedbank's regulatory requirements that must be maintained throughout the engagement. A key line in this mail, which I am particularly proud of is the following:
We welcome partnerships with FinTechs and we are happy to engage further on this topic.
I find this extremely encouraging - that a well-established Financial Institution in South Africa is keen to partner with third-parties. With deep insight into the organisation, I can confirm that this sentiment is a core ethos of the API Marketplace ecosystem.
You will also note that access to the API will be granted in a "test" environment, which we refer to as -
In most API Marketplaces, you will come across the concept of a "Sandbox". This is a space where third-party developers can interact with and use the APIs without direct integration to backend systems. The intention is to provide a "mocked" interface which can be used for development, testing and review. This is done across all users of the API Marketplace and is an essential step in your journey.
Once you confirm by email reply that you understand the terms and conditions of the API usage and that you will use it responsibly, you will receive a second email confirming that access has been granted and a welcome notification will follow.
Welcome to the Nedbank API_Marketplace
The first mail contains an Activation Link for your user account. This will allow you to log into the API Marketplace portal.
Once you have completed the form, click on "Activate" (as illustrated). You will be greeted with a "Log in" screen.
Enter the username and password you just created and click Log in.
You now have:
- Username & Password to log into the API_Marketplace Portal
While we pause temporarily to celebrate this milestone, I would like to highlight the following ways in which you can get assistance/support if you have any queries.
- Email: you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Slack: You will receive an invite to join a Slack channel for more direct, interactive engagement.
Creating an Application
Navigate to My Applications
You should see the following:
Click on Create new App
It is important to understand the concept of an "Application" in the context of an API Platform -
- this is a way to group your use of API products;
- APIs can be used across different Applications;
- you can think of it as a trolley you use when you visit a store.
Go ahead and Register your application. Don't be intimidated by the OAuth Redirect URI. We will discuss how that fits in later. If you want, use the values from the image below.
Navigating the Application Page
Upon first view, the Application page looks like it has been screened by the security staff at Guatanamo Bay and key values have been masked. Again, don't be intimidated by this page. The reason for the masking of values is that these are the "keys" or "credentials" to your application. The "Client ID" is similar to your bank account number and the "Client secret" is your PIN. Be sure to keep this information highly confidential.
You can view the Client ID by clicking the Show checkbox -
In the same way, the Client secret can be revealed by clicking the Show Client secret checkbox.
Note: Due to the nature of the Client secret, it will be revealed only after Application creation. If for some reason you forget it, you will need to Reset it and a new value will be generated.
At the end of this step, it is important that you have the Application credentials - that is the Client ID and Client secret. Just to make sure we're on the same page, this is not the same as the Username and Password you use to log into the portal.
You now have:
- Username & Password to log into the API_Marketplace Portal
- Client ID & Client Secret for an "Application"
As you might recall, an Application is simply a grouping of API products. Continuing the analogy of an Application as a "shopping trolley", you need to add items (API products) to it. This is done through the process of "subscribing to an API". As you might have noticed when shopping on a Sunday, stores are not allowed to sell alcohol. These areas of the store are restricted. In the same way, some API products may be restricted (not just on Sunday) and may only be accessed by approved third parties.
Now that you understand what subscribing to an API means, let us step through the process -
Click on the Products link:
Hover your mouse over the Accounts API
Click on Overview
Now click on Subscribe
From the Plans section, click on Subscribe:
Select the Application you have just created and click Subscribe
You will then see a confirmation indicating that the API product has been subscribed (added) to your Application successfully:
Now, repeat the above process and subscribe to the Authorisation API:
Recap & Next Steps
If you have followed along with me, you have achieved quite a significant amount -
- You have an understanding of the Nedbank API Marketplace Portal
- You have registered a Developer account
- You have created an Application
- You have subscribed that Application to multiple API products
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this guide, please feel free to connect with me via email (email@example.com), Twitter or LinkedIn.
In our next instalment, we will make our first API calls. Hope you stay tuned in.