Teller API

A single API to connect your app with any bank's account

#4 Product of the DayJune 15, 2017

Reviews

Discussion

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Stevie Graham
Maker
@stevegraham
Thanks for hunting Teller @andreasklinger! Hi everyone, really excited to open the Teller API beta to the public and to see what folks will do with it. As Andreas said in his comment, the idea for Teller came from personal frustration. A few years ago after I left Twilio, I started to build a payments layer on top of the Faster Payments service in the UK. The only problem was banks do very well from credit card fees and so not a single bank wanted to facilitate access to Faster Payments because what I was building threatened that revenue. After being stonewalled by banks the project was essentially dead in the water. This all happened around the time that YC did a Startup School in London, which brought together hundreds of hackers, including most of the people I knew locally in tech. This meant that I had to tell this story dozens of times to everyone I knew. What I heard in response was two things, very clearly: "banks suck", and "I wish my bank account had an API". Drilling down further nearly everyone said they would pay for API access to their bank account and that they would switch banks to get one. I thought this was very compelling, but saw it as another situation of it going nowhere without the collaboration of the banks. Later on, on the bus ride home I realised that banks already exposed APIs to power their own apps. And that was the birth of Teller! There is a blog post announcement here: https://blog.teller.io/2017/06/1... I'll be here all day for questions.
Max RofaghaHiring@wholeearthweb
@stevegraham Awesome! Have come across Teller before. Interested in using it but just had a few questions: 1) Are you scraping the data or using different tech? 2) Could you highlight the differences between Teller vs. TrueLayer in the UK and Plaid in the US? Many thanks 🙌
Stevie Graham
Maker
@stevegraham
@wholeearthweb Hi Max, - We don't use screen-scraping technology. We reverse engineer each bank's mobile app APIs and integrate with those. - AFIAK Truelayer isn't available yet. Plaid has much more coverage, but only US banks. I don't believe either of them offer live data, instead asynchronously fetching and caching data once a day. Neither of them offer payments APIs either, which we will be launching soon.
Max RofaghaHiring@wholeearthweb
@stevegraham Thx. What does your pricing look like? And are we able to play around with this now already? What's your timeline to expand the list of banks you work with?
Francesco Simoneschi@francesco_sim · Founder @TrueLayer
@stevegraham @wholeearthweb This is Francesco from TrueLayer. We are actually available and currently supporting all the major banks in the UK. We are integrating with bank's mobile and private APIs and offering real-time data (no caching or other similar limitations). Ping me if you want to try out.
Patrick Poulin@patrick_poulin · CEO @ API Fortress
@stevegraham @andreasklinger This is awesome guys! Curious if you have heard of the PSD2 regulations passed in Europe.
Arush@arush · Co-founder, Try.com
@stevegraham as a paying user of Plaid and having used Teller during beta, I can confirm Plaid data is not fresh, exorbitantly expensive, and poorly documented. Teller's API developer experience is far superior.
Arush@arush · Co-founder, Try.com
@arush almost forgot to mention Plaid is read-only, and Teller can actually move money and manage standing orders/direct debits etc
Vladislav Korobov@vladkorobov · COO of Live Typing
@arush what about ACH via Stripe. Is it possible to use Teller instead of Plaid?
Arush@arush · Co-founder, Try.com
@vladkorobov first to clarify what I think you are asking: ACH is a US concept. It is antiquated way to move money where you don't get confirmation that the transaction was successful until 3-5 business days later. Stripe is not immune to this and therefore suffers from the same delay. If this is what you want, the answer is yes. You can of course grab account information from teller and save them in stripe the same way you would save a card. Now since Plaid also has Plaid Link, you can save one step in the process and let Plaid exchange tokens with stripe server side, with Teller you won't be able to skip that step, though the https connection is between your customer's browser and Stripe so your servers are still insulated from touching sensitive data...
Arush@arush · Co-founder, Try.com
...contd However Teller's launch is especially disruptive not only to Plaid but even Stripe since AFAIK Stripe doesn't support U.K. Faster Payments (UK's version of ACH except it's instant), and this 100% within Teller's capability and sweet spot. IMO Stripe is more likely to partner with companies like Teller in the territories that they operate rather than try to build their on bank-by-bank integrations around the world. And btw im speculating here but it wouldn't be difficult for Teller to start supporting US banks and other Int'l banks in the future, whereas this is completely out of Stripe's product strategy...
Arush@arush · Co-founder, Try.com
... contd Really you should ask yourself whether Stripe is the right tool for you to move money sans the visa/MC/amex network. Dwolla have been touting a next day or same day ACH product but they do not support debits right now only credits (you paying your customers). Even credits is in alpha, and it's not exactly clear whether you get instant approval (likely not since they call it Same Day rather than instant) or whether it is subject to business days, but more importantly ACH debits are years away from being available to developers. I wouldn't hold your breath for it. But there is hope. The recent news about Zelle makes me think that instant US payments (not ACH) are coming to banks making the US banks ripe for Teller to work their magic on... exciting times.
yas@yasrostom · product manager
@arush that's incredible! - how is this possible ( pre-PSD2)? @stevegraham
Zach Perret@zachperret · Co-Founder, Plaid
@stevegraham @wholeearthweb Plaid founder here. We do offer live data (though our model is push vs. other companies in the past were pull). We also work with some partners (ex: Stripe) to enable you to transact directly. Drop me a line if we can help!
Zach Perret@zachperret · Co-Founder, Plaid
@arush @stevegraham Hey Arush - looks like we've been on touch on some of this directly, but we'd love feedback on the docs if you have it!
Andreas Klinger
Hunter
@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
Imagine your app needs to connect to a user's bank. You are pretty much screwed. Banks have the worst public APIs out there… if they even have any. If you want to offer your app to any kind of user you might as well give up. No way you will ever support all those bank APIs. Take your product idea. Either rip it apart, add 3 years of development time or wait for a shining hero/heroine to come. Well… along comes @stevegraham - he had a similar problem with his last startup. He tried for years to get banks to work with him, only so he could build on top of their APIs. After years of trying, he gave up going the official route… He closed down his startup and went rogue. If you can't get banks to officially work with you, you might as well go the other way round. He took every official bank iphone app out there and reversed their internal APIs. Teller is the wrapper on top of this. Yep… And it works! It's not only more secure for your users to use it (read about TAuth in his blog) - it's also (and that is important) easier for you as a developer. So here the FAQ: Is this even legal? Yes - his lawyers and the ones from the banks made sure. Several times. Stevie has enough angry lawyer letters of market incumbents to get through the next cold winters. Is this really legal? Yes - see above. This is not going away. They have several private beta customers using it now for years. It's now available for public beta - https://teller.io/ Can highly recommend! Huge fan of Stevie and Teller and watched them since their earliest days 🎉
Kumar Thangudu@datarade · Technologist
This is an incredibly important/relevant space: Yodlee, Finicity, and Plaid API are closing the gap. We need more of these services to pop up so we cover more of the banks and turn them from analog to discrete. Stevie if you need anything from me, don't hesitate to hit me up. This is going to be huge. Well done!
Stevie Graham
Maker
@stevegraham
@datarade Thanks Kumar, appreciate it!
Joshua Miller@joshuajomiller · Web Developer, Tech Enthusiast.
Awesome idea! One question though: If the banks change their APIs how will your API be affected and how quickly can you respond?
Stevie Graham
Maker
@stevegraham
@dusty_much Banks don't really change their APIs that much. Two breakages have happened in Teller's history: one bank changed the host name of their API endpoint, which was an instant fix; the other time was Barclays making some changes to their crypto specifically to thwart Teller. We didn't notice the breakage because Barclays made noises that they were interested in doing a proper 1st party deal and asked us to take the Barclays integration offline, which we did in good faith. They just used the time to make changes to their cryptography. Once we decided to break off and put Barclays back into production it took a few days to fix as they take significant steps to make their app resistant to tampering and reversing. We are expecting Barclays to make another big change soon purely to mess with us, this time we are expecting it!
Joshua Miller@joshuajomiller · Web Developer, Tech Enthusiast.
@stevegraham interesting. Do you provide some kind of SLA?
Stevie Graham
Maker
@stevegraham
@dusty_much we do not provide an SLA at this point.
Devan Koshal@devankoshal · CEO & Product @ Chec
Awesome to see this finally released publicly. The UK market has needed this for a while.