Everything you need to know about Real-time Exchange Rates

Real-Time rates

The case for accurate and reliable FX data

In the ever-shifting FX market, procuring accurate data isn’t always a straightforward process. Because the FX market is an over-the-counter market (or OTC) different currency rates from different sources might all be valid at the same time, as long as the buyer and seller agree on the price. As a result, providing accurate rates is both an art and a science.

Since the FX market is opaque, fast-moving, and decentralized, businesses need an FX provider that can help them navigate. The accuracy of data here lies in the difference between a data provider who is a market maker versus a simple rates aggregator.

     Providing accurate exchange rates
     is both an art and a science.

Market makers, like OANDA, actually create price consensus based on real-time FX transactions from all major participants in the forex market to ensure the most accurate data possible. In contrast, rates aggregators do not construct their own exchange rates, but rather an indicative rate based on various often unknown sources, which may not accurately reflect the real FX market. Because rate aggregators act only as a “pass-through” for data, they often do not detect incorrect rates, missing rates, or price spikes that wreak havoc when passed on to the end user.  

Clearly then businesses leveraging fx data for financial processes or products and apps, it is critical to obtain accurate and reliable data from a reputable source.

For over 20 years, OANDA has been one of the world’s largest providers of multi-asset trading services and foreign exchange solutions for individuals and businesses. OANDA Exchange Rates API currently provides an automatic flow of historical daily average rates to top audit firms, leading brands, and thousands of small/medium sized companies globally. These rates are often used for financial reconciliation, tax and audit, as well as to power digital products, apps and pricing engines. Trusted for accuracy and reliability, the OANDA Rates® are referenced by tax authorities and governmental agencies, and are widely considered the gold standard in exchange rates data.  

OANDA has updated its popular Exchange Rates API to include real-time exchange rates to offer a more granular view of the FX market to corporate audiences.

What are real-time rates?

OANDA real-time rates (also known as “spot” and “live” rates) are available through a new version of the company’s Exchange Rates API. A true reflection of the forex market, these spot rates are updated every 5 seconds, so businesses are always equipped with a continuous flow of up-to-date FX data.

     A true reflection of the forex
     market, these spot rates are updated
     every 5 seconds.

In addition to providing live rates, the new API also offers 96 fixing rates daily – more than any other known currency data feed on the market. Available at 15 minute intervals, each fixing rate provides bid, ask, and midpoint rates. Customers also have access to daily and period average rates aligned to their time zone, and can now access open and close prices.

The API delivers the FX data automatically into ERP systems, TMS, accounting software, websites or apps so businesses always have the data they need exactly when they need it.

Our API is a simple REST API and was built to offer peace of mind. It offers:

  • An uptime of 99.99% with fully redundant servers

  • Infrastructure co-located with the main participants in the interbank market, directly connected to over 20 top foreign exchange banks

  • Easy integration with any ERP, Treasury Management System, accounting/financial software, website, or mobile application

  • Resources like ERP integration documentation, our developer portal, and installation support

  • Formatting in JSON, XML, and CSV, offer the flexibility to fit any product, application, or website


Who needs real-time rates?

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While OANDA’s Exchange Rates API has long provided historical daily averages to accounting, audit, and tax professionals for financial reconciliation, the new API aims to support corporate treasurers and finance teams with a greater degree of visibility over the FX market, helping to mitigate risk, reduce currency exposure, and improve cash flow.

The API also benefits product managers and developers who require reliable forex data to power web services, pricing engines, and digital products. Travel sites and e-marketplaces, for example, depend on real-time FX rates to power their global pricing engine and currency conversion needs. In contrast, financial websites will use real-time exchange rates to showcase currency trends, provide access to instant currency conversions, or engage customers with interactive charting.

API documentation is available on our website, including easy-to-follow instructions in order to ensure the seamless integration.

Creating market consensus around forex data

OANDA is a globally regulated FX market maker and respected participant in the FX market that executes trades for institutions, individuals, and corporations. As an over-the-counter market, there is no central exchange or single source of truth for a price. Instead, accuracy is achieved through examination of a broad set of sources and transactions. OANDA’s real-time access to the full range of interbank liquidity, proprietary trading technology, and pricing algorithms enable the company to create an accurate market consensus across a wide range of FX instruments, including real-time foreign exchange rates data.

Read the full announcement here.