What is an API?
‘API’ is short for application programming interface. Around the world, organisations use APIs to connect products and services both inside their own environments (for example, to help two internal databases talk to each other or power an internal process) and on the web (exposing information from an internal system in ways external people can understand and use). When you book flights online, use a journey planner, access your online banking or log into an energy-saving application, the information you see is supported by APIs.
An open API is one that is publicly available for third party developers to use to build their own applications. A number of services online – weather portals, mapping websites, government services – provide open APIs. Just because an API is publicly available, does not mean the data being accessed and analysed via that API is open too. Within the Consumer Data Right regime, only accredited third parties will be able to receive information with a consumer’s consent via APIs implemented by data holders, and this data will not be open. A very small portion of data within the scope of the Consumer Data Right regime will be openly licensed data: generic information about products advertised by banks (and in time, energy and telecommunications providers) on their website.