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Exchange API: Expectations vs. Reality

exchange API

Currencies play an important role in international finance. They are used as the medium of exchange for different transactions. Therefore, people need to convert one currency to another currency. For example, an eCommerce website will need to publish its prices in different currencies. This is where an exchange API will help you. Popular companies like Currencylayeer, and OANDA, have exposed their APIs to developers to use in their web applications. However, there are certain things you expect from an exchange API. Is there any exchange API that can support your expectations? Let’s find it out in this article.

What is an Exchange API?

Exchange APIs provide you data about the exchange rates of different currencies. APIs are particularly useful when you have to integrate a certain facility in your web application. Thus, you can use exchange APIs to provide price rates from different currencies. Moreover, most of the exchange APIs support at least the popular currencies like USD, GBP, and Euro.

Some Exchange APIs can retrieve historical exchange rates. Only a few exchange APIs have thorough documentation, a dashboard, and a user interface. Finally, some of them allow returning information in different file formats, such as CSV, XML, and JSON.

What are the Benefits of Using Exchange APIs?

Currency exchange rates fluctuate. If you’re doing international business, you’ll need to identify the right values to make solid business judgments and exchange currencies smoothly. So, you can benefit here by using an exchange API. Besides, there are also some other benefits such as the following.

Security and performance

API providers ensure that the API you use is secure and performs well without causing any problems or security flaws. Thus, they include robust security features such as industry-standard bank-level encryption and HTTPS connections.


Currency values constantly fluctuate, regardless of how stable a currency is. However, you’ll need to know the current rates when dealing with overseas marketplaces. You can get reliable and regularly updated information by using a solid currency exchange API. Several APIs provide refreshed data every 60 seconds, giving you access to the most up-to-date rates.

Reliable data sources

Currency updates are gathered through exchange APIs from thousands of data sources, including worldwide banks, financial firms, financial suppliers, and other commercial sources. It entails current, correct data as well as past data that may be months or years old. As a result, you can keep track of the value swings and make informed decisions. One can also use this data to evaluate and make predictions.

Support for multiple currencies

Generally, exchange APIs facilitate a wide variety of currencies. You can exchange and trade currencies with only a few taps. It will allow you to engage with various worldwide markets and manage your business.

Simple to use

It is not difficult to use exchange APIs. Developers can easily integrate the code snippets of the APIs into sites or apps. If they have any questions, they can refer to the extensive API documentation, code samples, and easy API structure. You’ll also get a portal to use the tool and the ability to swap currencies, adjust parameters, receive alerts, and more.

What do Users Expect from Exchange API, and What’s the Reality?

Real-time Rates

Users expect real-time rates from an exchange API. So, it is bound to change even by a few cents despite the stability of the currency. The live endpoint of the Currencylayer API helps meet the expectations of users and allows both free and premium users to get real-time exchange rates. Apart from that, you can optionally use the currencies parameter to designate an additional source currency and particular output currencies.

Historical Rates

Historical exchange rates are currency exchange rates that show merchants how a currency pair was historically traded. It is essential to figure out how the currency has played in the past and whether it appreciates or depreciates. The currencylayer API provides historically accurate exchange rate information for every previous day until 1999.

Specify Output Currencies

In most instances, users intend to get exchange rates for a particular currency. Most APIs don’t support this feature.  However, Currencylayer allows retrieving the specified currencies by appending the currencies parameter followed by any accessible 3-letter currency codes (divided by commas) for both live and historical rates.

Source Currency Switching

The Source Currency (also known as the “base currency”) is the unit of measurement for all quote values in the return set of an API. Many users expect currency rates pertinent to the source currency. However, most APIs are limited to getting the default exchange rates of the API owner. Yet, the ability to change the source currency is an added advantage for users as they can map the source currency according to their requirements. Currencylayer allows you to switch the source currency using a simple API call.

Currency Conversion Endpoint

The main functionality of an exchange API is currency conversion. Every user expects an accurate currency conversion based on their requirements. API might provide incorrect results if its database is not updated. However, Currencylayer collects data from reliable financial stakeholders to give precise currency converted values.

Historical Currency Conversion

The ability to convert currencies based on a past currency rate is an added advantage for users. It helps them clarify their doubts regarding prices that were available in the past. Although it’s not a must-have feature, it is good to have it. Currencylayer supports this functionality, allowing users to convert values based on past rates.

Time-frame Queries

Time frame queries allow users to get historical rates for a specific time period. This feature is also helpful for getting a trend on how the currency varied over a certain period of time. Currencylayer has a subscription that supports this feature. you can get exchange rates for up to 365 days of timespan from currencylayer.

Is there an Exchange API that can Fulfill Your Expectations?

As you can see, most exchange APIs do not offer the features the client is looking for. However, currencylayer is different from them. Currencylayer is a simple REST API that delivers real-time and historical exchange rates for 168 global currencies. It also provides currency pairs in a globally usable JSON format that you can use in any app.

You can receive real-time data on spot exchange rates validated from multiple major forex data suppliers. Thus currencylayer API supports currency exchangers, mobile apps, financial software components, and back-office applications worldwide by offering the most accurate forex market price available for each API call.

Get Currencylayer today and work with the most up-to-date exchange rates!

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