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Fast API Response Times For Better Payment Experiences

In the virtual world, consumers expect immediacy and great experiences when interacting with businesses throughout their buyer journey. How quickly customers are able to checkout and pay have a significant impact on your conversion rates—especially for online retail and e-commerce platforms. The API that powers your payments solution plays a large role in the overall checkout experience as it dictates the speed and efficiency of making a purchase.

How do reliability and fast payment transactions affect repeat business?

Recent surveys have found that 28% of customers expect to finish the checkout process in under two minutes; 66% in under four. Not only that, but you may lose potential customers by word of mouth (WOM), which can account for as much as 13% of sales.

Furthermore, a study by PWC revealed that 17% of U.S. customers ditch a brand they love after one negative experience. This number increases to 59% after more than one bad incident.

Because reliability and speed are so influential in buying decisions, fast transactions are key to attracting and retaining repeat customers. The simple truth is, even a good customer experience can be ruined if the payment process is slow, tedious, or not working. If this happens, customers can develop mistrust or associate negative feelings with your brand.

Integrating with a payment processor with fast and reliable APIs will help make your entire checkout process fast and seamless.

API: A quick definition

In simple terms, an application programming interface (aka API) is how two applications talk to each other. With payments, it's how each part of the payment stack works together to complete a transaction (i.e. the buyer, merchant, payment facilitator, processor/banks, and card networks).

How payments APIs affect the checkout process

A well-built payments API helps ensure your business meets customer checkout expectations with ease. That’s because it’s the API that ties everything together and makes a purchase seem like magic.

A slow API response can break the “spell” of your checkout flow and cause delays or “congestion” for buyers. At a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store, the buyer might try running their card again or use another payment method. But in the virtual world, they won’t be stuck waiting in your checkout line. With the stroke of a few keys and a couple of mouse clicks, they’re already purchasing the same product from a competitor.

Think this is an exaggeration? It’s not. A staggering 70% of customers say that page speed influences their buying decisions.

The job of a payments API during the checkout process and why it’s important to online retail and e-commerce businesses

Payments APIs are vital to the checkout process as they’re what facilitate communication in our modern digital ecosystem.

The core duties of a payments API during a purchase are to:

  • Make a transaction happen (the faster the better). Enable customers to select their desired payment method (e.g. credit or debit cards, Google Pay or Apple Pay, PayPal, online ACH, etc.).

  • Securely collect buyer credentials and payment details, including card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV codes.

  • Verify that the chosen payment method is valid and that it has the available funds for a purchase.

  • Ensure funds are transferred securely. This can also include events such as order cancellations and refunds.

  • Communicate messages about transactions. This includes whether a transaction was successful or denied. The API also transmits a reason for payment failure, such as an expired card, insufficient funds, or a technical error.

As you can see, completing a digital purchase would be next to impossible without a payments API—and certainly not as fast.

Tip: For a deeper dive into how payment processing works, check out our guide: Your Guide to Payment Gateways.

What makes an API response time fast?

Customers shouldn’t have time to think about the process of making a payment. If they do, then something’s gone wrong. The average response time for APIs is one second or less. Anything longer typically starts to disrupt the customer experience. Fortunately, a well-designed payments API ensures a seamless process.

Some factors that contribute to API efficiency include:

1. Data structure

Data structure refers to the way data is stored and organized. This affects how easy an API integration is to integrate with, as well as the overall performance of the API.

2. How requests are formatted

This refers to the data format an API uses to exchange data. Popular choices for modern APIs are JSON and XML. Finix uses JSON to encode responses and requests due to its simplicity, faster speeds, and more modern, flexible format.

3. API latency

API latency affects the request and response times between a server and the device requesting information.

4. API caching

With API caching, commonly requested information is stored in a cache server to cut down on the amount of API calls to the primary database. This helps speed up response times and increase API performance.

5. Load balancing

Load balancing helps prevent unnecessary strain on a given server by distributing traffic loads evenly among multiple servers.

6. Database Querying

How many filters an API has affects the efficiency of querying a database and determines how quickly and easily customers can access information or complete a requested action.

How the Finix payments API helps the checkout process and conversion rates for omnichannel and e-commerce platforms

The Finix API is designed to support fast, reliable transactions for a great customer experience. And better buyer experiences end up leading to better outcomes for your business. Our API is also built for efficiency, flexibility, and optimization, which makes it easy for development teams to understand and implement.

In case you're curious, we follow REST API best practices—a dev favorite. Contrary to the name, a REST API doesn’t need “rest” (like us mere mortals do). REST in this case refers to the architectural style of an API. And because we use a consistent structure at every API endpoint, it saves your business a lot of time (and money) on the development side—and the outcome is a seamless payment experience for customers.

While APIs involve a lot of more technical details, the main takeaway is the Finix API never “rests." We have a 99.999% uptime history with multiple failovers in place. This means even if one server fails, you’ll still be able to accept payments and avoid unnecessary credit card processing outages.

Learn more about the benefits of the Finix API

Fast payments APIs for conversion wins

There’s a lot of working parts in the checkout process and payments play a key role. Optimizing your payments integration is a must if you want to reduce checkout abandonment, increase conversion rates, and maximize your revenue. A core part of payment optimization is the payments API, as it fuels the actual buying process. When considering a payments provider for your e-commerce platform, it’s important to factor in the ease of integration, as well as the configurability of the API. The easier the integration, the faster you can start accepting transactions. The more flexible the API, the better you can optimize your payments. With a provider like Finix, you’ll have access to a fast, reliable, and powerful API that’s made for building the experiences you want to create for your customers.

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