Comprehensive API documentation, when combined with a developer-centric approach, can be a powerful ally in increasing user adoption rates. In finance and fintech particularly, API adoption has proven instrumental in influencing user and business growth.
Banks, insurance companies, and investment firms leverage APIs to provide customers with access to their accounts, enable secure transactions, and offer tailored financial services. The ease with which these services can be accessed and integrated into third-party applications hinges on the quality and usability of their API documentation.
Let's take a look at some recent examples of how API documentation fueled user growth for financial and fintech businesses. These businesses have acknowledged that providing clear, comprehensive documentation is not just a technical nicety but a strategic imperative, leveraging and promoting well-documented APIs to enhance user experiences, reduce friction in transactions, and remain competitive.
In 2022, the Brazilian fintech company Nubank launched a new open banking platform, Nubank Open Finance. The platform provides developers with access to a suite of APIs that allow them to build innovative financial products and services using Nubank's customer data.
To encourage developers to adopt the new platform, Nubank invested in its API documentation, creating cohesive documentation that includes detailed descriptions of each API, code samples, and tutorials. Nubank also created a developer portal for developers to access the documentation, sandbox environments, and support resources. As a result of Nubank's investment in API documentation and fostering a developer-friendly environment, the Nubank Open Finance platform has been successful at encouraging customers to join with a consistent service and sophisticated framework.
The purely digital enterprise accounted for 46% of all information requests from other institutions throughout Brazil, far more than Itaú, the country’s largest traditional bank, with only 23%. Nubank also added 4.6 million customers in the second quarter, representing 28% growth from a year earlier.
Here are some of the specific ways that API documentation helped to increase user adoption of the Nubank Open Banking platform:
Nubank's investment in API documentation is a great example of how financial institutions can use documentation to increase user adoption of their APIs. By providing developers with documentation that is complete and easy-to-follow, financial institutions can make it easier for developers to learn about their platforms, build applications, and ultimately grow their user base with high-quality and continuous services.
Effective API documentation brings several key benefits to the finance sector. It not only fosters collaboration and integration with third-party developers but also ensures the security and reliability of financial services. Furthermore, user-friendly documentation empowers fintech startups and innovators to create innovative solutions that cater to the specific needs of financial consumers.
Fintech is characterized by its agile and customer-centric approach to financial services. Many fintech startups base their business models on APIs, leveraging them to connect with banks, payment processors, and other financial institutions. This API-centric nature allows fintech companies to swiftly introduce new services like digital wallets, robo-advisors, and peer-to-peer lending, all while keeping a keen eye on user adoption.
Fintech innovators are keen on delivering user-friendly solutions that address specific financial needs, from hassle-free payments to investment opportunities. By utilizing APIs, they access valuable data and capabilities from banks, insurers, and regulators. User-friendly API documentation is the catalyst for developers who want to rapidly integrate these services into their applications, ensuring that users can effortlessly benefit from the innovation fintech has to offer.
Plaid and Stripe are both fintech companies that provide APIs that allow developers to build and connect financial products and services. Similarly to Nubank, these companies grew their customer bases considerably by harboring developer-friendly environments focused on crafting clean and functional APIs.
Plaid's APIs are used by developers at some of the largest fintech apps in the world, including Robinhood, Venmo, and Coinbase. During the peak of the pandemic, as consumer demand for digital payments skyrocketed, Plaid achieved customer growth of 60%. One of the key factors attributed to this growth was Plaid's investment in API documentation and a developer-first approach.
With digital payment processing demand rising, Plaid recognized their existing docs structure needed an overhaul. The company looked to “put out a new documentation platform that reflected our dedication to providing an excellent docs experience,” and create a developer-friendly platform that was maintainable, scalable, discoverable, and comprehensive.
Plaid’s efforts to improve its documentation included expanding help documentation, implementing troubleshooting guides for every API, and listening to user feedback to ensure search and navigation were intuitive. By listening to its developers and users, Plaid's API documentation is clear, comprehensive, and easy to use. It includes detailed descriptions of each API, code samples, and tutorials. Plaid also provides a robust developer portal and help center where developers can access the documentation, sandbox environments, and support resources.
Payment processing company Stripe followed a similar trajectory of growth and success, attributing a developer-centric focus on API documentation to increasing their user base.
“Simply providing great APIs won't solve the problem since there are many companies that provide APIs. So, Stripe focused on providing the best developer experience by providing great documentation along with the APIs.”
Developer sandboxes, multi language support, technical best practice implementation, and robust user documentation helped Stripe evolve its product and support to successfully entice more users.
Stripe and Plaid's wealth of API documentation has helped to increase customer growth in a number of ways:
Investing in API documentation is a proven strategy for fintech companies looking to increase customer growth with a developer-centric approach. By providing developers with clear, comprehensive, and easy-to-use documentation, fintech companies can make it easier for developers to learn about their platforms, build applications, and get help when they need it.
DevDocs is a technical writing agency that specializes in building clean and concise API documentation to keep services running and end users guided. We understand that incomplete API documentation creates roadblocks, and developer-written documentation can be lacking or prone to errors. We help organizations expand their user bases by providing technical documentation that empowers developers and end users. Get in touch with us today to see how our technical writers, editors, and consultants can help provide momentum to your user growth.