Example of a POST request.

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Written by Brice Boulesteix

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Introducing Memo Bank's API

Our engineering team is delighted to announce the birth of Memo Bank’s API, an automation API that will allow you to manage your Memo Bank accounts without logging into your Memo Bank workspace.

AP who?

If you’ve never come across the notion of API before reading this article, think of an API (application programming interface) as an interface that machines can use to communicate using standardized protocols. An API is basically a bunch of rules that says things like "if you send this request to that location, then you’ll receive this kind of response with that kind of element inside it". Although they require technical skills to be handled well, API have been used in lots of public-facing services for a long time. Consider the speaking clock service. Back in the days, every time you would call the speaking clock, you’d use an API without even knowing it. The speaking clock had a proper phone number, and its response always contained the same elements, that is: structured time data. It worked like a time API.

Now, if you want to check the balance of your Memo Bank account without logging into your Memo Bank workspace, all you need to do is send a GET request on our API, using the address https://api.memo.bank/v1/accounts/{id}—where {id} is replaced by your Memo Bank account number. In that case, the GET request acts like a phone call and the web address (URL) acts like a phone number, but the idea remains the same as the speaking phone: one can use a dedicated number to obtain a specific information. Once you’ve sent your GET request to our API, you’ll receive a structured response that contains your account balance. Since our API response will land in your system, you’ll be able to use it in your business management tool, without logging into your Memo Bank workspace.

Although APIs don’t seem very dramatic, once you’ve connected your system to one of them, a good API can save you tons of time by sparing you the trouble of manually dealing with your most repetitive banking tasks. API are powerful because you can use them to create cascading tasks, so that a peculiar event occurring on your account automatically leads to a given action. For example, Memo Bank’s API can give you a call when new funds land on your account, and assuming you’ve done your configuration work properly, you might use that information to create a new SEPA transfer automatically. All the things you were doing by clicking around on buttons can now be replaced by specific actions triggered by API calls.

One API to do it all

What sets Memo Bank’s API apart from other banking APIs? To start with, let’s acknowledge that we’re not the first bank to offer an API. But unlike traditional banks, which sometimes offer dozens of different APIs for lack of a unified technology stack, we only offer one API. Memo Bank’s API is an integrated API which allows you to do it all in the same place. That also means less time spent on integration for your engineering team and less dependencies to manage down the road for you.

Available endpoints

Here’s what you can do with Memo Bank’s API.

Current accounts

  • Get the details of a current account: name, balance, IBAN…
  • Get a list of current accounts : with their name, their balance…

IBAN

  • Get the list of IBANs linked to a current account
  • Create a new virtual IBAN (that you can use immediately)
  • Get the details of an IBAN
  • Delete an existing IBAN
  • Update an IBAN to change its name

Transactions

  • Get the details of a transaction: date, amount, label…
  • Get the list of transactions linked to a current account

Attachments

  • Get the details of an attachment: name, size, mime type…
  • Delete an attachment
  • Get the list of attachments linked to a transaction
  • Upload a new attachment and link it to a transaction

SEPA transfers

  • Initiate a new SEPA transfer (either standard or instant)

These are all the endpoints available in Memo Bank’s API first version (v1).

Available webhooks

Memo Bank’s API can also send callback messages when a peculiar event occurs on your Memo Bank workspace. You can then use those notifications to trigger actions on your Memo Bank account, all through our API. Think of webhooks as the first step in a cascade of automatic actions.

Our API can call you when the following events occur:

Current account

  • A new current account is created
  • A current account is updated (new name for example)
  • A current account gets closed down

Attachments

  • A new attachment is created
  • An existing attachment is deleted

IBAN

  • A new IBAN is created
  • An existing IBAN is updated (new name for example)
  • An existing IBAN is deleted

Transactions

  • New scheduled debit (direct debit performed by a supplier for example)
  • New outgoing SEPA transfer
  • Transaction is authorized (funds are put aside)
  • Transaction is confirmed (captured funds are debited)
  • Transaction is rejected (operation has been refused)
  • Transaction is canceled (captured funds are released)

Example use case

What could you build using Memo Bank’s API? The answer is: tons of things. Consider a real estate agency. The agency rents flats that belong to property owners. To save the owners some time, the agency first collects the rent paid by tenants and then sends it to the owners. As for the tenants, they wire their rent to the agency at the end of each month. They’re never in touch with the owner of the flat they live in. On its Memo Bank account, the agency receives dozens of transfers, incoming transactions that are in fact rents, and that the agency needs to turn into outgoing transfers sent out to owners.

That two-step process forces the agency to perform two banking tasks which can take a lot of time:

  1. Reconciliation of incoming transfers. The goal of this step is to link each incoming transfer to the tenant who sent it out. Assuming that incoming transfers all land on the same IBAN and that some of them are devoid of a proper label, the agency is in for hours of fun (no).
  2. Execution of outgoing transfers. The aim of this step is to forward the rents to the owners. The agency’s employees need to send dozens of transfers out to owners, without ever making a mistake in the amount sent out. Challenging, to say the least.

Can these two tasks be performed manually? Of course, but that will take lots of hours and that won’t be super rewarding for the people doing the job—not to mention the mistakes that may arise along the way. Fortunately, there’s an alternative. The agency could use Memo Bank’s API to automate its reconciliation process and the initiation of outgoing transfers sent out to owners.

Using Memo Bank’s API, the agency could make sure that every registered tenant receives a specific virtual IBAN—the creation of which could be automated through the API. Such a setup could solve the reconciliation issues that the agency is facing, because each incoming transfer would then be linked to a tenant as soon as they land on the agency’s current account. A transfer sent to an IBAN titled "Tenant A" could only come from “Tenant A”, for example, and not from, say, tenant B or C. The fact that virtual IBANs can have a proper name, in addition to a specific number, make the agency’s job easier here. And that’s how the agency’s staff could turn a tiresome task into an easy one.

As for the forwarding of the rents to the owners, the agency could use Memo Bank’s API callbacks this time. Using our webhooks, the agency could turn incoming transfers into outgoing ones, automatically. For example, if a tenant sends her rent to the virtual IBAN "tenant A", that incoming transfer could automatically lead to an outgoing one that would be sent out to “owner A”. That way, the owner gets paid as soon as the agency gets paid. This is a win. The agency reduces the time spent on outgoing transfers, mitigates the risk of human error, and turns owners into satisfied customers.

Getting started

If you’re interested in Memo Bank’s API, whether you’re running a real estate agency or not, contact us. And if you’ve already subscribed to our unlimited plan, get in touch with your Memo Bank banker to get your hands on your API credentials. Access to our API is billed as a paid add-on, which is then added to your monthly subscription bill. And for the technical part, you might want to have a look at our documentation.

Memo Bank’s API is still in its infancy. We can’t wait to enhance it and we’re counting on your feedback to guide us while we do so.

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