Getting Started with APIs

API development for CU*Answers is an important step in revolutionizing our ability to be flexible in providing data in a secure but streamlined manner, not only within the products we develop, but as a channel to allow others to develop products that connect with and integrate into the CU*Answers product suite. Once an API is developed, it can be used by other third-party applications, CU*BASE, It’s Me 247, Mobile Web, loan applications, or anything that we allow data access from now and in the future.

Ready to get started with APIs? Just follow these steps!

1: Familiarize Yourself with Our APIs on the DHD Site

The API Center included with the CU*Answers DHD website is an excellent place to begin. It is intended to provide a virtual shopping experience for exploring our API landscape, and has an easy start-up process to get you working as soon as possible. It should also provide enough information for most developers to estimate the programming effort required to integrate our APIs into your process. Some materials offered:

a. An overview of each API
b. Various API documentation
c. Swagger APIs access
d. Sample Agreements/Schedules

Note: Per CU*Answers API development processes, APIs are not intended to be a one-time project you can walk away from… they will require constant monitoring and attention in accordance with new API updates/ modifications, CU*BASE releases, etc. Please review this In The Kitchen link for CU*BASE Release and other larger topic projects in varying phases of development.

2: Release Credit Union Configuration to Development Environment

In order to get started CU*Answers Developer’s Help Desk requires some paperwork from the developer who intends to build off the APIs. These may be initially reviewed and then ordered via our DHD Online Store. However, prior to completing and returning the applicable paperwork, please schedule a first call with the DHD Help Desk to initially review your API project goals and desired outcomes. This early collaboration is very beneficial per our having a preliminary insight to your overall API scope, and providing additional assistance for proceeding.

Additionally, you may order the API Launch Kit  to review and or complete the following documents:

  1. The Master API Access Agreement (signed per organization doing the API development; this may or may not be the credit union)
  2. The applicable Schedule(s) depending on the API type (signed per organization doing the API development; this may or may not be the credit union)
  3. Master Indemnification Agreement (signed by the Credit Union)
  4. Project Information Form – to describe your API project objectives and desired goals (completed per the organization doing the API development; this may or may not be the credit union).

Once fully executed, these documents get the process started for providing an initial API test development environment.

3: Select and Order Development API Set Keys

Once all necessary Agreements have been received by CU*Answers, you can proceed with requesting Development API (test) key sets. Depending on what you are creating, you will need access to some or all Development API key sets. It will be a CU*Answers determination for which API key (sets) may be provided and timing considerations. We recommend limiting your potential exposure by only selecting the API keys you actually need to fulfill the requirements of your project.

If you don’t see the API key you need, you can always sponsor the development of new Custom APIs. Visit the DHD website to learn more about Custom APIs.

Depending upon the Agreement/ Schedule(s) and other criteria, you will be provided a generic development API key to begin development against either a test CU*BASE credit union (e.g. Bedrock Test CU), or potentially, a real CU*BASE client configuration with staged settings and member data.

In order for live Member Information to be provided to a credit union’s API Developer, add the product shown to the right to your cart to receive the required Authorization to Release Member Information Form. This Authorization permits CU*Answers to create a test environment that closely matches your credit union’s CU*BASE production environment. Because this test environment could contain real data and CU*BASE configuration criteria, an authorized individual from the credit union must complete this Release Form, even if the developer is a credit union employee.

The developer should now have everything required to develop, test and demo to a client.

Normal timing: API test keys are normally delivered within 7-10 business days of order being received.

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Other Considerations:

Selecting the CU*BASE version on which to test against: Development of the CU*BASE system is an on-going process, with many features being enhanced or modified. In some cases, these modifications to the core may impact API features resulting in modifications needing to be made to the API and your corresponding app or project. Prior to starting API testing, we suggest you discuss these considerations with a DHD expert.

The development environment is accessible on the Internet and requires no additional special access.

The development environment will generally be available 24/7 with a short maintenance window each night. Additionally, the environment will be unavailable when new releases are rolled out until an update has been deployed. Visit the DHD site to view the latest Alerts/ News and other important information.

As previously mentioned, APIs will require on-going developer attention in accordance with new API updates/ modifications, CU*BASE releases, etc. Clients and developers must regularly check the DHD site for important API Updates, Alerts and News.

Note: As a reminder, all work we do for you is subject to the terms and conditions of the Client Master Services Agreement and/or the Master API Agreement between your organization and CU*Answers. CU*Answers may provide additional terms and conditions as based upon the services required.

4. Schedule a Kick-Off Call

If this is your first CU*Answers API experience, the DHD will next schedule a video conference to more thoroughly review the overall API process, documentation, support access, Q&A, etc., to help ensure a smooth kick-off. This call is scheduled to closely coincide with receiving your Development API keys.

5. Order Testing Windows (optional)

Are you ready to test your API project? For situations in which your developer may desire an additional layer of testing to be performed, these pre-scheduled testing windows (normally 1-2 hours) allow developers to work directly with a DHD Account Executive to coordinate your testing with the CU*BASE functionality. This may include verifying the activities and configuration on the CU*BASE side, and additional items such as password complexity settings, first time sign-on considerations/ scenarios and user “lock-out” attributes.

Pre-scheduled testing windows typically require at least 2 weeks’ notice. Depending upon project testing needs, multiple testing windows may be required.

Cost: $200 per hour (1-hour minimum)

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Note: CU*Answers does not warrant or certify a Vendor’s App as part of this additional testing option. This step is primarily intended to provide you with a second set of eyes to help review the App prior to going live.

6. Select and Order Production API Set Keys

At least two weeks prior to launch, please order your Production API keys. These will allow your project to communicate with the API endpoints on the live production servers.

CU*Answers requires a unique client API key per each project, operating system and client. If you are developing Mobile App, you also must have a unique (separate) API key for iOS and Android versions. Please contact the DHD with additional questions.

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Note: The Production environment will follow CU*Answers rules, including scheduled CU*BASE Releases, maintenance, downtime, disaster recovery/ high availability back-up considerations, etc.

7. Launch Scheduling

Upon ordering your Production API Set Keys, it is between the client and developer to:

  1. Contact CU*Answers for scheduling a live date to our CU*BASE Production environment.
  2. Verify/ ensure your API matches a currently supported CU*BASE Release version.
  3. Provide us your planned timing (date) for releasing to Internet Stores (i.e. Apple).

Normal timing (for DHD reply back): Within 5 business days.

8. Custom API Development (an alternative!)

Not seeing an API you potentially need? As an option, you can always sponsor the development of a new custom API to better meet your specific goals and requirement. However, as a first step, please be sure to contact the Developer’s Help Desk to discuss the custom API integration criteria that will make your product a success. Custom development of an API will typically include research and development of your API needs and integration into the CU*Answers platform. Custom API development will require a quote and sign-off process once your requirements have been determined. Depending upon your project considerations, submitting a Project Information Form will get the process started.         

9. On-going Support and Keeping Your API Application Updated

Congratulations!  You’ve launched your API! Now what?

To keep your API running, it is very important for you and your developer to remain vigilant on CU*Answers API development processes and CU*BASE Releases that may potentially impact your API. Your first source for keeping informed is the DHD website, where we’ll post important information (i.e. Updates, Alerts and News) to keep your API up and running.

We also recommend to regularly checking out www.cuanswers.com to see what development work we’re regularly completing on our CU*BASE system. You’ll also be able to see when future CU*BASE Releases are scheduled, disaster recovery/ high availability scheduling considerations and much more.