Financial Systems Integration: Real-time vs. Batch

Integrations: Real-time vs. Batch

When an FI talks with a fintech or software vendor, the question is often: Do you work with my core or systems? That is the start of the questions, not the end. It would be best if you kept asking questions. Here is one: Is the integration Real-time or Batch?

Batch Integrations: These are point-in-time extracts of data that moved from one system to another system. They often focus on large quantities of data. The data available in the software or fintech providers application is static based on the batch’s point in time of the extract.

Advantage(s): Large quantities of data can be moved with one or a series of files. Processes of data can happen when systems are less busy to reduce the impact on other vital transactions or operations. 

Disadvantage(s): These are often one-way data movements. The data can become outdated and old quickly. You have historical information but no access to current balances or member/consumer data.

Example(s): Data Warehouse, Positive balance files for debit/atm used in off-line situations, MCIF or marketing systems.

Real-time Integrations: These are active integrations, often through API (Application Programming Interface), that read and write data in real-time processing. Data is current and consistent between systems.

Advantage(s): Consumer/member data is available and live. Data changes can be written between systems to update data fields, process transactions, disperse loans, etc. 

Disadvantage(s): Large data movement can stress systems. Historically real-time integrations have been difficult and costly. This is changing with new approaches like Janusea’s platform and others working on integration frameworks and toolsets.

Example(s): Digital banking platforms, ATMs and Advanced Kiosks, Teller and Workflow solutions, call center applications that can do teller functions, etc

Both: Applications and business cases may need batch updates and real-time calls.

Example: CRM for banks and credit unions often do nightly batch pulls and real-time updates for consumer/member screens, workflow’s final writes of addresses and demographic changes, transfers, loan payments, etc. 

Hybrid: We define hybrid as real-time calls that kick off batch processing or data movement outside the API stream. This is particularly useful when systems’ API options are limited or need to be expanded. 

Example: Loan Application and Processing Systems are a good example. They may use real-item APIs for automating applications with pre-filled applications and underwriting systems, for adding a member/consumer to a core system, and for booking and dispersing a loan. But then use an API call to trigger the SFTP movement of all loan document PDFs outside of the API stream to a folder for e-document system processing. They may also use an API call to trigger a nightly reporting or loan queue process creating point-in-time information and reports sent to loan officers and executives. 

As consumer/member expectations have increased and fintech options to meet those needs have grown, real-time APIs have become more critical. For your credit union or bank, the best approach is to match the capabilities of the integration to your business case and needs.