Carl Stronach is the Senior Product Manager for Experian’s API Developer Hub. We sat down with him recently to discuss how API’s are helping business clients solve problems, and to get answers to some frequently asked questions about Experian Business API’s, how they work, and how developers can get started using them.
What is the API Developer Hub and Why Did Experian Launch It?
The Experian API Hub is a one stop shop for all Experian data. Whether client developer's come into Experian to access our information on businesses, consumers, automotive data, data quality, they can find all our API's in one place through one developer account. It makes it much easier for developers to come in find all the data assets that Experian has and start testing that data in just minutes.
So clients are coming into the API hub and they're coding to our API's to integrate that data into their applications. And so one of the most exciting things that I find is when clients will share a screenshot with me of all our data that's live in their application.
Can you give us some examples of the kinds of apps clients have connected to the hub, do we know what data is being used for?
We see clients using the API is for a variety of reasons. The first one would be your traditional credit underwriting. They need to have a Credit Manager access Experian data within their own application so that they can make a credit decision.
The API makes it easy to put all the data that a Credit Manager needs on one single screen. That's what they are designed to do. And so that's probably the first use case.
The second use case that clients are coming into is when they're running their own platform. Clients are coming in. They might be a fintech company. They might be a special niche provider of business information on a specific industry.
So the API's enable not only Experian to have a direct relationship with clients and end users, but also enable our own partners to give their end users access to Experian data within their applications as well.
Does the Experian API Developer Hub open up opportunities for new business models?
We're enabling new types of clients to come into Experian and start working with our data, clients who would have never done that before. We're opening the market to these types of developers to create new types of innovations. It spurs innovation.
So yes, we think the API Hub enables new business models to be created. One of the ways we're tackling that is by making the API's available for startups making the API's available for startup incubators.
There's all these little networks of startup incubators that allow all their startups to get access to different data assets, or different API's to solve these business problems.
Experian is getting into those incubators to allow our data to be at the fingertips of these startup environments where we can go a step further than just the public developer portal access that we provide to everyone.
For some of these businesses that are in these incubators, we can provide production grade data to businesses who are just starting up. Normally they wouldn't have the capital or funds to access our data in the production environment if they were to come to us directly, but as a part of these programs they can get started in creating a real application at a relatively low cost in those early phases of their business..
What are the key benefits of using an API over other processes such as batch delivery?
Clients today, many of them might be using a batch process to automatically update their portfolio. There's certainly many benefits to using a batch process. It's a bulk process. We offer very competitive pricing when we're talking about batch delivery. The disadvantage is that the data isn't real time.
Underwriting decisions are best supported by access to fresh data. That's real time, and that's exactly what the API's do. So when a client makes an API call to us we calculate data based on the data we have available at that time. We'll pull data to create calculate a score on the fly, a fresh score. Every API that we have is delivering data that we have in our database in real time, so that real time data that you can get at your fingertips when a client is completing an application, you can use that data in real time to make real time decisions. So there's a few different ways.
Where can people learn more about Experian API’s?
If you visit, you're able to go to the portal see the API's that we have, read our API documentation. You can register for an account in just a few minutes and start making test API calls to start seeing how you might interact with Experian data and integrate that into your application.
Other ways that we're supporting clients interacting with our API's - we are focused on not only say Credit Managers, and those traditional use cases that we're working with, but we're really focused on the client developer, and so we're trying to make it as easy as possible for developers to code to our API's.
We're doing things like creating libraries. We have some developer libraries that are out on GitHub right now. There's a Node.JS library and a Java library that is available. We also can provide what's called a Postman collection to our developers. Basically, it lets them download our API's onto their computer and start making test API calls to any of our API's in just a few minutes. It makes it super easy to start coding and interacting with our API's.
We're trying to provide these open source ways for developers to start working with Experian data. And you know we're looking for that client feedback. You know, what types of developer libraries can we create to make it easier for you to code to our API's and integrate.
We want to make API integration as easy as possible for some clients. And that's why we're going the extra mile to create these open source pieces of code that make it really easy to interact with Experian API.