International Currency Data and Payment APIs for SaaS Business Apps

. 6 min read

XE is most often recognized as a trusted source of foreign exchange rates, and as a fast, reliable way to transfer money internationally. Yet that is only the beginning of the XE story. We also enable SaaS application providers to enhance their services with the latest international exchange rates, and to make multiple online money transfers for their own business, or on behalf of their clients. We can do so by way of our growing portfolio of financial services APIs.

If you aren't familiar with the acronym API, but were adventurous enough to open this article, good on you! If you're already familiar with API concepts and best practices, you can likely skip the next bit. We won't be going too deep technically in this article in any case. We'll also try to explain any fintech jargon which you may not be familiar with.

The non-technical explanation of XE APIs we want to convey is that XE offers fully documented, mature, supported APIs for international currency-related financial services. XE's current roster of commercially available APIs is small, but powerful.

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Many of our API clients also become XE Partners. For example, SaaS providers can sell licenses for XE API services on a white label basis, which creates an add-on revenue opportunity, and building global market credibility for their offerings.

The ABCs of APIs

API stands for Application Program Interface. Essentially, an API is a set of software development tools, communications protocols, and subroutines (defined technical processes) which enhance the core functionality of a business application. In some cases, an API will act as a "bridge" between two core commercial business applications, such as any of the "software pillars" listed below.

  • Customer Relationship Management applications such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Accounting apps such as Xero and Clearbooks
  • ERP applications like Deltek, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Oracle, Sage or SAP
  • Human Capital Management and payroll processing software from companies like Infor and Workday
  • B2C and B2B e-commerce platforms and websites like Shopify and VistaPrint

Many other industry-specific business applications, such as apps for insurance or wealth management. The applications and types listed above are all live API integrations which have been completed by companies just like yours. Our APIs have been integrated with over 1,000 SaaS services and on-premise business applications.

Each of these apps enable several businesses to do international business more effectively.

  • Their offshore salespeople can create proposals and forecast revenue based on the latest currency values
  • They can pay their international suppliers, employees and contractors based on the latest exchange rates
  • Their ecommerce stores can offer their products at the latest rates
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In some cases, an API includes the entirety of the configurable code to extend a business app with new functionality. Many companies call their configurable, pre-packaged API code an add-on module, a plug-in, or an extension. Instead of custom building functionality into your business application that didn't come "out of the box", APIs deliver what you need, without the heavy lifting of building it from scratch.

The XE Currency Data API

Fondly known around our offices as XECD, the Currency Data API is really a "unicorn" in the foreign exchange data world. It pulls data from over a hundred of the world's central banks, as well as financial and government institutions - 24/7/365. XE has been providing businesses with currency market exchange rates since the year 2000.

In 2015, we enhanced these services by releasing the XE Currency Data API, which provides live market rates for all of the world's currencies.  In fewer than five years, XECD has become the go-to source for real-time or daily foreign exchange rates. The XE Currency Converter is known around the world as the most source for reliable international exchange rates on mobile devices or desktop browsers. The ability to draw from the same sources as XE does for the latest rates ensures investing in an XE Currency Data license provides significant ROI.

Many software and SaaS vendors have whole app stores for third-party ISV (Independent Software Vendor) extensions to their core SaaS platforms. A few examples include the Salesforce.com AppExchange marketplace and the Shopify App Store.

Those particular add-on modules are generally fee-based, and priced on a monthly per user or resource usage subscription basis. These fees are charged to support the ongoing research, development, hosting, and maintenance of API code. Also for access to support resources. If you want to dive deeper into the APIs from a technical standpoint, ProgrammableWeb.com is a great resource.

API Code Repositories - GitHub and SwaggerHub

One of the greatest things about APIs for technology geeks (like this author) is how well documented, developer-friendly, and customizable they are. Not to mention how they create communities among their customers through user forums. They offer all of these resources, on the public internet, in exchange for a subscription fee, and by reading and accepting their end user license agreement.

There are a couple of excellent resources for those who use APIs - including XE Currency Data and others. They are known as GitHub (recently acquired by Microsoft) and SwaggerHub. You can access API code and application-specific documentation for different business applications from these resources. Once you become familiar with one of these code repositories, you will appreciate what a rich resource they are for integrating your key business applications, and building new services on top of them.

XE Payments API

Enable your customers to make international payments, directly from your site with the XE payments API:

  • Integrate XE international payment services into your site
  • Provide your customers a seamless user experience
  • Leverage XE's currency expertise
  • Benefit from an additional revenue stream

If your business, or the customers that subscribe to your SaaS or ecommerce services are buying from international services, the XE Payments API can reduce the exchange margin on client payments. Your clients, or your customers' clients spend more  on your products or services, and less on currency exchange rates or fees.

XE Mass Payment API

For many financial services companies, the complexity, expertise, and technology overhead of managing their own international payments/money transfer services is a non-starter. The same goes for other multinational companies that constantly move money between their international bank accounts.

XE's Mass Payment Services API provides businesses (and their customers) with reliable, fast, and secure money transfers, without needing to build and manage the technology infrastructure which supports it. XE offers a white-labelled service to banks, credit unions, and other financial services providers. These institutions can provide their customers with the peace of mind that they are working with the company they know and trust, while transferring their money through a proven, industry-leading cross-border payment service.

With our Mass Payments Solutions you can save both time and money by simplifying and streamlining your global payments processes. Our solutions enable you to process, execute and deliver multiple payments quickly, easily and securely to over 220 countries and territories in 139 currencies.

With XE Mass Payments, your business can:

  • Streamline or automate high-volume manual processes
  • Improve the speed of high-volume, time-sensitive payments
  • Use fewer resources than you currently do
  • Pay less for international than you would typically pay
    your bank
  • Receive hands-on support

Key features:


Available as a standalone platform, managed service, or fully integrated API

  • Simple online file upload
  • Automated payment verification and validation
  • Consolidate multiple currencies in a single file
  • Enables payment delivery on specific target dates

Do you have a business application which you would like to enhance with the latest foreign currency exchange rate data?

Is your financial services business looking to expand your portfolio of services into international money transfers?

You can register for an XE account to start a 7-day trial of the XE Currency Data API, or send an email to the team at data@xe.com to further understand the benefits of XE's API offerings for businesses across finance, technology, and other industries.