A rapid development environment enabling the rollout of new financial services solutions in Lebanon

SECTOR  Financial Services
PRODUCT  Self-Managed

areeba and Tyk

Two years ago, fintech company areeba didn’t have a single API. Now, it has an entire platform of APIs supporting all applications and enhancing security. This has enabled exceptional growth, with the scaling out of all digital applications with an API focus.

As well as enabling the smooth delivery of areeba’s payment and transactional services, Tyk provides a rapid development environment that is allowing areeba to innovate, test and move forward at an accelerated pace. And all with exceptional performance, greater than 99.9% availability and without a single latency issue since installation.

Who is areeba?

areeba is the leading e-payments provider in the Middle East for issuing and acquiring services, targeting banks, financial institutions, and merchants.. The financial technology company provides payments and transactional services with a focus on smart, fast, seamless payment solutions. areeba’s innovative approach is changing the way that payments are made with the aim to switch to a cashless society.

Why did areeba need an API gateway and management solution?

areeba was moving from legacy systems to microservices and wanted to modernise the workflow of building new applications by using API management. Key to the company’s requirements was a rapid development environment, where innovation could flourish fast.

areeba also wanted to increase its ability to provide easily integrated, performant and lightweight digital solutions across many different use-cases. The company was seeking a full digital transformation and digital enablement across the board, along with a single point of access and control, documentation, security and stellar performance.

areeba’s Legacy systems had developers working on old technologies which offer no reusability or efficiency. The objective was to move to a more microservices-based architecture. The idea to use an API gateway to change the entire software development lifecycle was born.

A proxy just wouldn’t cut it. It was time for Tyk.

The world is moving at a fast pace and so is technology, and to be able to quickly respond to the changes, an agile environment should be set in place, an environment with the latest cutting edge technologies that would remove boundaries and limitations

Bernard Bardawil

Why Tyk?

Tyk was selected due to its flexibility, to its full set of features (along with the ability to add all the more requests), and also to its virtual handler and its capacity to write middleware.

On every front, Tyk delivered faster, more intuitive processes and performance. areeba was clear about not wanting to add complexity, so the ease of installing and interacting with Tyk was ideal. Tyk’s intuitive nature meant that the areeba team began using it without even reading the documentation.

The ability to write JavaScript in virtual handler was a key attraction. The lightweight functionality and build mean that areeba doesn’t have any issues in terms of latency or extra time on the calls. Without being told, nobody would even notice the gateway was there.

areeba used the virtual handler to develop a whole API within Tyk, calling the data source and returning data, with policies, keys and more. The process was fast and efficient. The company also uses Tyk to create mock APIs when required, as a quick and easy means of looking at static behaviour.

The user-friendly nature of Tyk’s product was also important. Yes, you can use NGINX to deliver plenty of features, but you’ll need to employ NGINX experts in order to do so. Tyk’s intuitive nature means that non-technical people can quickly be trained to use it with confidence.

How is Tyk working with areeba?

Tyk’s fully fledged API management platform is enabling areeba to build, onboard, secure and publish APIs incredibly simply and quickly. It has become the platform for all of areeba’s API development work. Tyk’s rapid, intuitive development processes are enabling areeba to move away from individual code bases and siloed workflows to a better, more streamlined microservices architecture.

areeba has deployed Tyk as a local, fully on-premises solution using Kubernetes. This deployment allows for a full Highly Available architecture set up to support areeba’s desire to have a fail over option as a security enhancement and to allow for the benchmarking and testing of all transactions flowing through Tyk.

Instead of having single apps to manage, areeba now has a front-end that allows it to call APIs and make use of that connection instead. The full digital transformation and digital enablement that has taken place has provided a single point of access and control, documentation, interconnectivity, reporting and security.

As well as building its own apps, areeba now also has the option to monetise APIs as well, positioning the brand alongside the other leading payment providers within the FinTech space.

Tyk’s API gateway sits behind all of this. Far more than just a proxy layer, it is enabling areeba to scale as fast as the company’s ambitious plans can evolve. In fact, Tyk’s performance is so strong, that the only limitations relate to how much the hardware can handle!

Examples of Tyk in action at areeba

A cornerstone of the partnership between areeba and Tyk is the Zaky app, which has been developed to support a cashless society. Users can pay merchants, transfer money and buy vouchers using their smartphones. It links to their credit or debit card and integrates fully with Mastercard QR code.

Another key service is areeba’s online fraud monitoring system. This is an internal system with no outside exposure, so having a custom domain internally has been particularly useful – it allows areeba to segregate connectivity on a granular level directly within Tyk. The system works as an online checker to identify any fraudulent account activity, with lots of queries flowing through this in the back end and event triggers in place should it identify anything suspicious.

At present, at least 20,000 requests per month are coming through Tyk. That figure is set to rise significantly as a number of new projects reach fruition. Forthcoming services include a card issuing application, areeba Pay and the Yolo youth banking app. All enabled by Tyk and all using Tyk as the single point of contact for all APIs.

How is areeba benefitting from using Tyk?

Tyk has allowed areeba to make services leaner, remove outsourced development teams, handle configurations internally and, ultimately, save a significant sum of money as part of the overall orchestration. The benefits are being felt company-wide, with Tyk delivering savings in both cost and time.

areeba can now publish, use, share and document its APIs internally with ease. If the company wants to create a call, there’s no need to go into the code, just into Tyk. The rapid development environment is delivering scalability aligned with business requirements.

areeba is also benefiting from being able to easily access information about the geographic distribution of APIs across different users. This is particularly useful. The same goes for the API keys – Tyk makes managing different keys for different clients very easy and allows for simple authentication. As Tyk is areeba’s first layer of security and reporting, debugging is easier too.

And then there’s the performance. This has been a clear win. areeba hasn’t faced a single latency issue or crash while using Tyk.

What’s next for areeba and Tyk?

Tyk has so many features, that even a year later, the areeba team is still finding new ways to implement it. Both areeba and Tyk keep evolving. areeba is already using the developer portal, API keys, policies and security. What’s next? Versioning on an API level and GraphQL, for starters. Plus launches of new services in new countries, alongside rapid userbase growth.

If Tyk was a car, what would it be?

No Tyk case study would be complete without this most serious of questions!

Based on Tyk’s reliability and performance, the areeba team decided it had to be a Toyota. Lots of people fancy owning a BMW or Mercedes, then face expensive and irritating mechanical and technical issues after buying one.

Meanwhile, Toyotas deliver issue-free performance, perform really well and never break down. They are solid, reliable and performant. Just like Tyk.

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