The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Dev Subrata, founder and CEO of Fidel API, a UK-based company providing application programming interfaces (APIs) to developers. Fidel enables developers to build programmable user experiences connected to real-time payment card transaction events. Subrata discussed how consumers and businesses can benefit from real-time payment transaction data.
This interview has been edited.
Christophe Carugati: What was your motivation to start Fidel API?
Dev Subrata: In 2013, my co-founder Andre Elias and I were building a very different business when we reached a challenge: We needed to access purchase data in an in-store environment without adding additional steps to the buyer journey. We discovered a solution by partnering with the card networks; however, it was a process filled with specialized compliance obligations, added time, increased costs, and know-how. Our answer was to build an integration layer that would allow our systems—the app—to communicate with them—the card networks data rails. We saw it had the potential to accelerate innovation and decided to share it with other developers.
In 2018, Fidel API officially went live. Today, Fidel helps thousands of developers build innovative user experiences connected to users’ payment cards, serving millions of users across three continents. Our clients span the entire spectrum of companies, from small startups to enterprises like Google, Royal Bank of Canada, and British Airways.
Carugati: What types of applications can developers build using Fidel’s APIs?
Subrata: Fidel API offers two core capabilities: transactions and payments. Using the transactions product, developers can capture real-time payments from a verified and registered payment card. Using the payments product, developers can push money back to a card. These two capabilities enable companies to build a host of experiences, broadly categorized: loyalty and rewards, digital receipts, attribution, insurance claim reimbursements, expense management, lending, and fraud protection.
Carugati: How do loyalty and rewards programs use Fidel to access real-time payment card transaction data to deliver more value to consumers?
Subrata: It enables companies to automate the loyalty experience and remove any friction it adds to the buyer journey. For example, users can collect points and earn rewards without doing anything extra at the checkout. For merchants, it presents a unique opportunity to engage the customers at the point of sale by sending personalized messages or offers that can drive further engagement with the brand.
Carugati: What challenges does your company face as it expands to new global markets?
Subrata: We are excited to be planning to work with a host of new, global players. Following a successful expansion into North America, we have select markets in Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East in our sights. In a wider sense, we are looking forward to helping accelerate cardholder and merchant value propositions across the world. Any expansion to a new area takes a significant amount of time and resources—our two biggest challenges. However, we are fortunate to have incredible partners around the world that help make our work possible.
Carugati: What additional uses for real-time transaction data do you expect in the future?
Subrata: With our network partners and developers alongside, we are exploring several new verticals. Today, we are actively working with our clients to streamline how businesses and consumers manage expenses and how businesses can deliver digital receipts to their customers. It is an exciting stage of Fidel’s growth, and we are looking forward to sharing some announcements later this year.