The best notifications APIs: the value of getting closer to your customers

5 min reading
The best notifications APIs: the value of getting closer to your customers
The best notifications APIs: the value of getting closer to your customers


Amazon (cloud services), eBay (eCommerce), Square (mobile payments) and BBVA (bank) all have application programming interfaces for sending notifications, each one with their own outlook, market and goals. Today they have become one of the most intimate vehicles for getting closer to users.

With the increasing penetration of mobile devices in the market, and as vast numbers of native apps began to be downloaded in iOS (Apple Store) and Android (Google Play) stores, the volume of push notifications also skyrocketed. Today they have become one of the most widely used and most intimate vehicles for getting closer to users. And on many occasions they have even been used improperly, to the point of saturation. However, when correctly used, push notifications can be an opportunity for companies to get closer to their customers.

An increasing number of sectors –apart from the media and social networks– are beginning to understand the importance of push notifications as a vehicle for showcasing new offers, products and services to users, spearheading customer retention and loyalty policies, or as an element for monetizing the relation with third companies who require data to provide certain services for their users. In this scenario, APIs are an indispensable element for eCommerce, banking, mobile payments, the cloud, the telephony market and the videogame sector… This is intended to be a list of some of the most interesting notifications APIs:

1.     Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)

Amazon Simple Notification Service has become one of the most commonly used in the market. The idea is for customers of Jeff Bezos’ company to be able to send mobile alerts to individual users or to fan out notifications to large numbers of recipients. They can be sent via mobile apps but also by email, browsers or SMS. Amazon offers coverage for app-based push notifications in iOS and Android devices, Fire OS, Mobile Windows Phone and Chinese terminals, with ever greater penetration in certain smartphone markets. 

Amazon SNS is available in the majority of the most popular programming languages in the community of developers, which is a major advantage:

● PHP.

● Python.

● Java.

● Node.js.

● .NET.

It also connects easily with some of the company’s other services, such as Amazon RDS (the relational database service), CloudWatch (an Internet monitoring service), S3 (cloud storage service) and Lambda (a serverless cloud computing product that generates responses to users’ events). And the price varies according to the customers’ use: 0.50 dollars for each million publications and 0.50 dollars for each million push notifications delivered, in addition to the cost of the data transfer.

2. eBay Platform Notifications API

eBay’s notifications API enables information on specific events to be sent to eBay customers or product sellers, for example, transaction alerts. In any case there are all kinds of notifications on eBay’s API, some of which are of interest only to buyers, others only to sellers, while some are useful for both profiles. This application programming interface uses SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and requests sent to the API receive responses in the XML format. 

These are some of the API alerts:

Information on a customer’s account: any user can sign up and receive information on their account activity via SMS. This information can be provided for a specific time interval, and users can also select the frequency with which they wish to receive it. This type of notification is available for both buyers and sellers.

Suspension of the user’s eBay account: notification sent to a subscriber when their eBay account has been canceled for some reason.

Best offer notification: this alert is sent to a seller with an eBay account when a potential buyer has made the best offer for a product they are offering for sale. This is an early warning system.

Feedback alert notifications: these notify a seller or buyer when the other party has posted something on their feedback channel. This is a way of ensuring contact is always fluid.

3. Square Connect API: Webhooks

Any developer in the world can access Square APIs, possibly one of the most promising startups in the mobile payments sector. In fact a large part of its promising future rests on the structural base of its application programming interfaces. The company of Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and creator of Square along with Jim McKelvey in 2009, recently launched an API service called Webhooks, which allows programmers to embed payment and reimbursement alerts in real time in their apps. 

The steps to begin to work with Webhooks are fairly simple:

Create an account in Square: you first need to download the Square Register App for both iOS and Android devices and create a user account.

Webhooks is based on HTTP POST requests: a server must be enabled to which the requests are made. You first need to run the command with curl to confirm the server responds to the requests. 

Register a new app in API Connect Square: this allows the token to be received for access to the customer/user and their private information.

Enable Webhooks: this tool must be activated on the actual page of the app just opened in the Square Connect API. This option is usually marked by default. Once activated, click on save. You need to specify beforehand the URL of the server to which to direct it.

Send the first HTTPS request: once you have the personal access token, requests can be made to any Square API. For example, with this simple command in curl you can obtain the locations of the businesses housed in Square:

curl -H “Authorization: Bearer PERSONAL_ACCESS_TOKEN”

The data returned by the Square API from the request made by the command in curl would be similar to this information in JSON format: 

  “locations”: [
      “id”: “CBASEDqu0eR0gRyr6d4TArPMZyk”,
      “name”: “Coffee & Toffee SF”,
      “address”: {
        “address_line_1”: “1455 Market Street”,
        “locality”: “San Francisco”,
        “administrative_district_level_1”: “CA”,
        “postal_code”: “94103”,
        “country”: “US”
      “timezone”: “America/Los_Angeles”,
      “capabilities”: [

●      HTTPS libraries for connection with the endpoints of the Square API: to work with the Square API you need to choose some of the HTTPS libraries available. Most of the programming languages already have some library that works in this protocol. The Square team themselves also recommend using tools such as Postman or Paw to verify that the connections with the endpoints are made correctly.

4. BBVA’s notifications API

BBVA has its own application programming interface geared to sending notifications. In this case, to serve third companies who wish to have information on the bank’s customers’ financial transactions. This can be very useful for companies that have app users who are banking aggregators, companies that enable their customers to have a single app for all their accounts with all their financial transactions; companies that have scoring apps; and companies linked to marketing.

In the end, this application programming interface makes an interesting package in combination with BBVA’s accounts API. This API provides all BBVA customers’ financial information, whereas the notifications API streamlines the process as there is no need to make constant requests to the API to obtain recent information –it is only used in the case of an alert inviting you to use it to make a new request to update certain bank information.

Are you interested in financial APIs? Discover all the APIs we can offer you at BBVA

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