Introducing the Privacy Card Issuing API

Bo Jiang, CEO
Jul 15, 2020
 Min Read

We’re excited to announce the launch of our Card Issuing API – a developer-first product that makes it easier and faster than ever to create debit cards on the fly and build new payments experiences. We believe transparent pricing and simple APIs can unlock developer creativity and innovation.

Why did we build the Card Issuing API?

Creating (issuing) payment cards today is still incredibly hard. We learned this first hand launching our virtual card business in 2014.

In starting, we wanted to rethink how payments in an online world would work if we prioritized privacy, safety, and usability. Coming from the consumer tech world, we were brimming with ideas on how credit cards should work online.

But first, our small engineering team needed to be able to issue cards. We started by working with a legacy card issuing processor, but we ran into so many issues that we ultimately decided to bring all of our issuing processing in-house starting in 2018. Building that infrastructure and technology forced us to become knowledgeable in payments, and we started to wonder how to share our learnings with other product and engineering teams.

We started hearing from a small, but growing segment of customers and developers who wanted to issue their own cards via our API. Some of these businesses were using our consumer virtual cards product as a manual workaround to achieve process improvements to their payments-related workflows; automating existing payments, expense management, and disbursements in their businesses. Others were trying to deepen their relationship with their existing customers while unlocking new payments-based business model innovation and additional revenue opportunities for themselves. We were surprised to hear that they had all evaluated other payments providers but none of those options offered the flexibility, transparency, speed, and ease of use that they desperately needed.

Over the years, we’ve continued to receive inbound interest from other developers looking to quickly issue virtual debit cards and we’ve realized that there are tens of thousands of companies large and small, struggling with the broken process of issuing cards. The process for issuing cards has barely changed for decades. There are so many companies and products that never get built because it’s such an expensive and onerous experience today. We’ve already seen that the combination of a developer-friendly approach, transparent pricing, and fast integrations is sorely needed in card issuing.

By lowering the hurdles to issuing cards, Privacy’s Card Issuing API has empowered businesses to streamline payment operations and create new payments-enabled business models in a diverse set of industries ranging from digital advertising to insurance. In a year of testing, over one hundred developers have already integrated our API including applications in procurement, expense reimbursement, disbursement automation, on-demand services, digital banking, agency services, and more.

Our Promise to You: Fast Integrations & Transparent Pricing

In preparation for our public launch, we focused on two key principles: transparent pricing and fast integrations. When we first started building Privacy as a consumer service those were the two biggest issues we faced on day 1. Now we want to solve that for all our customers and developers.

Existing Processors Have Complex Products: While many existing processors call themselves “developer friendly”, it still typically takes 3-6 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment to launch a card . And that’s all before you actually run your first transaction.

Even sandbox access is complicated—most of the time you’ll need to put your info into a sales capture form and get qualified by sales reps on their team before you can even start using an API sandbox for dummy transactions.

We allow you to start issuing virtual cards (and soon physical cards) in hours, without talking to a salesperson or something else

Existing Processors have Opaque Pricing: Existing processors require you to sign NDAs before they share any pricing information. Not only that, when pricing finally gets shared, it's often pages of esoteric fees — fees for different types of transactions, account usage fees, monthly maintenance fees, card usage fees, etc. And on top of all that, some fees are charged on different billing cycles, making accounting a huge headache.

We’re committed to simple pricing and we’re putting it up publicly on our website today. No NDAs or long-term contracts needed -- just sign up and start building today.

If you would like to start hacking and building without talking to a sales person, please check out our card issuing offering here. Alternatively, if you’d like to talk through your product roadmap or customer pain points with our team of developer-friendly payments folks, fill out our contact form.

We’ve been there. We’ve done this ourselves. We know how hard it is. And we can't wait to help you get started.

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