A Guide to Payment Gateway APIs

Editor’s Note: This blog entry was originally published on August 25, 2020, and was updated on May 25, 2021.

What is an API?

The acronym "API" stands for "Application Programming Interface." An API is a written instruction that enables two devices, databases or applications to connect and share information. In other words, it’s the behind-the-scenes software language that makes it easier for us to do things online or with our smartphones.

We utilize APIs all the time, whether we’re conscious of it or not. For example, when we buy an airline ticket through a third-party travel reservations site, an API powers the communication between the airline and the travel provider. Or if we have a Wi-Fi thermostat in our home, an API is facilitating the communication that allows it to remotely adjust the temperature in an individual room

Payment Gateway APIs

A payment gateway API integrated with existing digital processes can connect a checkout system to a payment network.

Benefits of a Payment Gateway API


The first advantage of using a payment gateway API is that it can simplify the payment process (request, authorization, receipt and confirmation). The way a payment API typically works is that an application transmits a message/request to the API, which relays it to the payment processing network, which in turn processes the request and responds to the API, which then relays the response to the application.

Improved User Experience

One major benefit of a payment API is that it can improve a customer’s purchasing experience by eliminating the need to fill out checkout forms, a tedious task - especially on a smartphone - that can lead to shopping cart abandonment. Thanks to the ability to reuse stored payment information, customers can complete a purchase on a mobile device with just a few taps.


Another advantage of a payment API is that it allows a merchant to innovate. Typically, a basic API payment integration is straightforward, easy to test and readily implemented. But if your company has innovative ideas - and a developer who has the technical expertise to do the customization - an API can be customized to your heart’s content, by integrating external applications, for instance. Meanwhile, a payment API potentially allows a business to keep consistent branding and user experience across channels.

Security and Fraud Prevention

Last, but certainly not least, another core advantage of a payment API relates to security and fraud prevention, which in turn eases regulatory compliance. That’s because customer data and payment information is typically stored by the host (not the merchant), keeping that sensitive data out of the hands of a merchant. This makes it easier for a merchant to remain PCI compliant and EMV®-ready at a time when failing to do so can result in considerable exposure to financial liability.

Additional Benefits

There are other features that may or may not be available, depending on the API and processing platform. For example, there’s the ability to store transactions offline and have them processed when functionality is restored. Or the API may be able to support a diverse array of different transaction types beyond the major card brands and common payment methods.
Moreover, a payment API may be able to consolidate all of the data transmitted through the platform, thereby providing helpful data that has the potential to inform business and marketing decisions.

Further, software providers have found that integrating a payment API into its software has the potential to provide an incremental revenue stream via revenue sharing with the payment processor.

Benefits of a payment gateway API infographic

Benefits of Global Payments Integrated’s APIs

Global Payments Integrated offers robust, flexible APIs that are easy and fast to integrate, regardless of your integration method. This reduces speed-to-market and eases the development cycles for developers. We also have the ability to do the development for you if that is the route you prefer to take.

As an example, for our mobile solutions, you are able to send, receive, and connect to our API seamlessly. Here’s how it works:

  • Send API Request - Your application sends all non-sensitive parameters to the embedded SDK.
  • Process the Request - The Global Payments Integrated API communicates with the PIN pad device to prompt for card insertion, tap, swipe or manual entry, before collecting encrypted card data and performing an authorization request through the Global Payments Integrated Platform.
  • Capture Results - The Global Payments Integrated SDK will provide you with the non-sensitive payment results such as the bank approval code, last 4 card digits, and an encrypted token that can be used for subsequent payments.
  • Print Receipt or Send eConfirmation - Our solution provides your application the flexibility of displaying or sending payment confirmation to the customer.

Transactions User Interface (Transactions UI) From Global Payments Integrated

ISVs can now take the complexities out of their payment integration with our new Transactions User Interface (Transactions UI). This interface allows ISVs to make a single API call to support multiple payment types, as well as split the payment amounts into several transactions for a simple, single omni-channel experience.

This allows ISVs to stay within their environment, programming language, and operating system while speeding up time to market, allowing international expansion and expanding product differentiation.

Transactions UI Features

  • All functionality through one API without the complexities of custom integrations
  • New value-added products and features in the future with little to no development effort
  • Cloud-based service to monetize payments and scale to a broader customer base

Benefits to ISVs’ Customers

  • Decreased time and effort required for accepting payments
  • Simplified reconciliation with the addition of a new cash tender type and reporting
  • Streamlined payments workflow with an easy to use interface for capturing transactions
  • Increased likelihood of customers paying for goods and services with the ability to accept multiple payment methods in the same transaction

To learn more about the benefits of Global Payments Integrated’s APIs or our new Transactions User Interface (Transactions UI), contact us today.