Bank launches open API to stoke app development


If Apple tried to develop every app created for its phones and tablets, the world would be a much worse place. We can all agree the end-user experience has been greatly enhanced by the multitudes of apps developed by people who don't work for the Cupertino giant. To similarly let a thousand app ideas bloom, French bank Credit Agricole has launched an online marketplace that "essentially crowdsources ideas for new banking applications from customers and gives developers the technological tools they would need to create apps that either fulfill the wish list or are based on ideas they've dreamed up themselves," according to the American Banker.

The bank's CAStore offers an open API that facilitates technology sharing with outside developers. Prior to launching the CAStore, CreditAgricole sought suggestions from consumers by hosting "procreation workshops," where customers would brainstorm ideas for new apps and services. The open API goes several steps farther.Opening up to third-party tech firms will hopefully stoke the creative juices that much more.

So fare, more than 50 outside companies and individuals have started developing applications via the API set. The apps are often based on the suggestions of their consumers or even other banks.

End-customers post their ideas on the site, and they are sometimes contacted by developers for more information and advice.

At some point, the bank will have to get involved, especially in terms of vetting app software for malware and the like. Of course Apple does that to.

Banks in the United States may not want to go this far, but technology companies have long made APIs available. To do it on an open source basis is certainly not unheard of.

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