Financial Technology

Financial Technology

September 24, 2013

Startup Plaid Raises $2.8 Million to Launch API for Banks

Aiming to give developers access to financial data, San Francisco, Calif.-based startup Plaid has raised $2.8 million to launch an API for banks. The investors for this project include Spark Capital, Google (News - Alert) Ventures, NEA, Felicis Ventures and Homebrew Capital.

The company is presently supporting access to data from American Express, Wells Fargo (News - Alert), Bank of America and Chase. In the last couple of months, the company has begun integrations with larger consumer applications that will be enable account linkage soon.

In an e-mail, co-founder Zach Perret told GigaOm that security is the biggest challenge in building this type of an API. Perret wrote, “We’re very conscious about data regulations and security – and have built everything in a security-forward manner. We keep all the data anonymous internally, and the entire system was built to be PCI (News - Alert) compliant with encrypted traffic both ways.”

Plaid said that the API will allow developers to build cool apps that will enable customers to link a Web service to their financial data. For example, according to Plaid, it could be as simple as writing an app that tells you when your bank account or credit card spending hits a certain level or building a piggy bank that glows brighter when it’s full and dims as the account balance dips. On the other hand, one could build more modern-day versions of complex financial apps like Quicken or Quickbooks, added Plaid.

The company website tells you how to integrate and use the Plaid API, which is architected around REST. It uses HTTP response codes to correspond to errors and HTTP verbs to make the API more client compatible. Also, communication to and from the API is handled using JSON, said the developer.

Currently, the API is in private beta mode and is generating keys on an as-needed basis. In order to gain access, the company is asking developers to provide e-mail addresses on the signup page.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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