Online payments provider 2Checkout is introducing application programming interface libraries that enable merchants to customize the shopping experience.

Compared with 2Checkout's other products, the APIs require merchants to do more work to create their sites but also give merchants the ability to design "a unique and branded checkout experience for their customers," says Shawn Budde, the Columbus, Ohio-based company's CEO.

The APIs let merchants control the look and feel of the site, how the shopping cart works and what data shoppers must provide.

2Checkout's global scale differentiates it from rivals, according to Kevin Gallagher, senior vice president of business development at 2Checkout. The company deals with merchants in 196 countries using 26 currencies and conducting business in 15 languages, he says.

Until the last few years, hiring developers to use APIs had been the province of midsize and larger merchants, Gallagher says.

These days, some smaller retailers are doing more of the work on their sites, he says. At the same time, some larger retailers are choosing to cede some control of their online presentation in exchange for an easier approach to creating a site.

The company started 14 years ago with the mission of helping smaller merchants sell their wares online.

To that end, 2Checkout offers Standard Checkout for basic processing of credit cards, debit cards and PayPal payments. 

In the slightly more elaborate Inline Checkout, consumers enter their card data in a box that pops up as the background turns gray. With both products, merchants have no contact with cardholder information even though shoppers have no sense of having left the merchant's site when providing their data.

Both products ease the rigors of Payment Card Industry data security standards compliance because 2Checkout handles the information.

With the APIs, however, merchants will have to meet PCI requirements, the executives say.

2Checkout announced two weeks ago that it will integrate its software into Shopify's e-commerce platform to help Ottawa-based Shopify reach more markets abroad.

The company is also providing a white-label payments processing system called Brink's Checkout to customers of the Brink's armored car company.

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