‘FX’ Forex API: how companies can automate their currencies

‘FX’ Forex API: how companies can automate their currencies
‘FX’ Forex API: how companies can automate their currencies


Currency automation is a key feature of companies with international cash flows. This is how APIs can help.

Companies are looking for services integrated into their management systems (ERP) that simplify their daily operations and allow them a high level of information traceability or the possibility of automating their operations. APIs (Application Programming Interface) are an intelligent solution for integrating multicurrency payments and currency flows, so that processes can then be automated according to set rules.

What kind of companies are these APIs for? With the help of Albert Pla Arasa, Head of Electronic Sales for Companies at BBVA Global Markets, it is explained how the FX (Forex) API works, which has been introduced to automate currency trading operations and help companies integrate these operational tasks.

What is Forex and how does it relate to Open Banking, integration and automation?

Forex (Foreign Exchange), also called FX or Currency Market, is the foreign exchange market in which currencies are exchanged. It is a largely decentralized and unregulated market where currencies are exchanged bilaterally for each other.

Because of these features, Open Banking has been helping users for years to make exchanges, and APIs facilitate integration as well as automation in successive stages.

Now that APIs are gaining a foothold in the ecosystem of banked services, the options for companies are multiplying.

“The FX API offers the ability for customers to partially or fully automate currency management, allowing them to spend more time making decisions and freeing them from operational burdens. In short, to make their work more efficient” — Albert Pla

Integration and traceability, the key to APIs

APIs are a way of automating banking communication, a sort of translator that allows several different systems to talk to each other through integration. For customers, this means being able to include options in their management system that were previously found on bank websites, which also means greater control over their data.

When integrated solutions such as the FX API are used, either manually or automatically, records are stored and allow business operations to be tracked. Companies gain autonomy with their data because they have it in their own software.

This “automatic recording of operation details in the management system” allows full traceability and makes it easier to extract useful information from internal processes. It is a remarkable improvement for companies, which see how the data is inside their own system.

How API FX works

The FX (Forex) API is a tool for automated currency trading, capable of being integrated into the company’s ERP, also called Enterprise Resource Planning. How does it work?

Companies, in their business management system, make a price request (Request for Quote-RFQ) through the FX API, either for a spot currency or a forward transaction, and BBVA returns a price and the counter-value in the other currency of that request. That is when the customer can accept or reject it.

This tool allows control over currency conversion, choosing when the transaction is made and under what conditions. In this way, users making or receiving regular payments will have greater control over the process and will be able to automate it without leaving their system.

Integration enabling traceability and automation

What does this mean for customers? They will be able to have a global view of currency needs and group data through their own ERP, and then be able to automate transactions based on Forex market prices.

The objective is that “any customer can make a foreign exchange transaction at any time of the day”, in the words of Albert Pla, for which a 24×5 service has been created (24 hours, 5 working days) in which there will be full coverage.

The 24×5 FX API service is key within the Forex sector because, unlike financial products such as stocks, “foreign exchange is a product that is not traded on a regulated market” and never stops. In fact, BBVA’s trading team works in Hong Kong, Madrid, New York and Mexico, among others, to cover all hours.

To be able to define the level of automation

One of the advantages of APIs, and in particular of the FX API, is that, as the system integrates the processes within the customer’s dashboard, it is possible for customers to select the level of automation they expect to achieve. While for some companies it will be enough to display information on their dashboard, others will need a visual that allows them to perform operations.

For example, you can tell the system that “every time I receive an invoice in my management system in which the amount to be paid is in a currency other than the euro, identify the amount, the currency and the date on which I have to pay it, and send a message to BBVA saying that I have this need”, although this level of automation is fully configurable.

For some companies, having a button that allows direct control of when invoices are paid is important. Others will prefer the process to be completely autonomous and can define a set of rules that maximize their profit by using other banking APIs such as payment APIs, which also allow full integration.

As Albert Pla points out, these integrations are valid “for all types of customers”, and specifically the FX API is useful for “any company that has currency exposure” and where “currency is one of its financial risks”. In addition, the API gains relevance in companies with a high recurrence of operations, because a high volume of payments makes it profitable sooner.

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