The shopping technology vendor Slice is extending its application programming interface (API) for the analysis of electronic payments data, giving merchants visibility into a wide range of consumer e-commerce spending.

Through Slice, a bank or merchant can invite customers to link their email account to their credit card to obtain better offers and discounts. Slice scans for e-receipts, and uses them to graph payment data and other merchant details, drawing on an existing database of two million merchants that dates to 2006. The graph isn't tied to individual consumer identities, but the analysis can be used to add more heft to marketing programs that are based on user profiles.

"There's more information about what we are paying for that is winding up in our email boxes," said Harpinder Singh, Slice’s co-founder and vice president of product. "And that's not a good place to act on that information, so we felt there is a better user experience that can be built for using that data."

Web publishers can use Slice's API to collect aggregated details on payment patterns and shopping behavior across merchants and categories, diving into electronic receipts to inform offers, discounts, rewards and other marketing.

Slice is widely releasing the API today, after a pilot that included e-commerce companies TheFind, IFTTT and Trov. Slice charges a yearly fee based on the total number of users.

For example, TheFind, an e-commerce search engine, is using the payments graphs to personalize search results based on the purchase history in a user's email account. IFTTT, which automates personal scheduling and other day-to-day tasks, is using Slice's package tracking-capabilities to create a Google calendar event when a delivery is expected; and Trov, an app that helps people collect and place a value on things they own, is using Slice to add payment data for possessions through consumers' email receipts. Trov's goal is to enable consumers to use that information to spot opportunities to sell or insure their possessions.

APIs are an increasing common way for e-commerce merchants to quickly add payments capabilities. In a crowded field, Slice is offering a different set of merchant services by analyzing prior payments data to drive future business.

"As a trend, analyzing payments data is something the industry has long considered to be an untapped goldmine," said Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst at Celent. "Part of the issue has been looking across a consumer [payments record] rather than by payment type or store."

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