A currency API calculates and converts the value of one currency into other currencies. For example, if you lived in the US and were traveling to another country, you would need to know the per dollar exchange rate for the currency of the country you were visiting. You would need to know the US Dollar to Euro conversion if you were traveling to certain parts of Europe, or the US Dollar to Pound conversion if you were traveling in the United Kingdom.

In this article, we are going to build a simple currency listing API that is based on PHP, using AbstractAPI's Currency Exchange Rate and Forex API.

What is the Currency Exchange Rate and Forex API?

The Currency Exchange Rate and Forex API (also known as Exchange Rates API) by Abstract makes it easy to get the latest and trusted data for over 150 countries' currencies and over 10,000 possible currency pairs. It is backed by the latest and most reliable data from across the world providing highly accurate exchange rate data, all thanks to Abstract’s relationship with multiple trusted data providers.

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How to use the API?

To get started with this API, you need to create an account with Abstract. 

Upon successful registration, you need to log in and access your dashboard. To access the API, look out for Exchange rates under the Lookup category in the dashboard.

After clicking the Exchange rates option, you will get another screen where you will see your API key and some very useful sample codes on how to use the Exchange rate API. Let’s make a quick API call using Postman to get the live exchange rate of USD against over 150 countries' currencies.

To ensure a proper response from the API, make sure to replace the query parameter ‘api_key’ with the Abstract Key provided to you after signup.

Using Abstract Currency Exchange and Forex API with PHP

Let’s put the Currency Exchange and Forex API to some good use by creating a simple demo API in PHP. 

To set up the PHP development and runtime environment, you can install XAMPP. Download and install the XAMPP package according to your operating system. Once the installation is finished, browse the installation path for Xampp and access the ‘htdocs’ subdirectory. This is the root directory containing the PHP code.

Create another subdirectory within ‘htdocs’, named ‘api’, and then create an empty file ‘live.php’ inside it. This will be the path for accessing the demo API for live currency rates.

The PHP Code for Getting Currency Rates

Open the file 'live.php' inside your favorite code editor and copy the following code.


* This file is used to get the latest and live exchange rates of currencies.

header('Content-type: application/json');

// Get post request data and convert the value to an //associative array

$request = json_decode(file_get_contents('php://input'), true);

// for the live api the only constant value is base currency, so let's ensure you passed that at least

if(!isset($request['base'])) {
   echo json_encode(array('status' => false, 'message' => 'Invalid request'));

//lets add our API key to the request
$request['api_key'] = '<Your_Abstract_Key>';
$url = "https://exchange-rates.abstractapi.com/v1/live/";
$final = $url . "?" . http_build_query($request);

//open connection
$curl = curl_init();
curl_setopt_array($curl, array(
   CURLOPT_URL => $final,
   	'Content-Type: application/json',
   	'Accept: application/json'

//Make the API call
$response = curl_exec($curl);


echo $response;


Save the file and ensure that the placeholder “<Your_Abstract_key>” is replaced by your actual API key.

This demo API just acts as a PHP interface for the Currency Exchange and Forex API. It forwards the request from the API consumer to the Currency Exchange and Forex API and relays the response of Currency Exchange and Forex API back to the consumer. Internally it relies on the PHP curl library to invoke the Currency Exchange and Forex API. 

To test the demo API, you need to run it within a web server. Run the default php server using the command ‘php -S localhost:8000’. Then you should be able to access this API via the URL ‘http://localhost:8000/api/live.php’.

This is the same API response that you got earlier for the Currency Exchange and Forex API. The only difference is that this time it is returned via the demo API written in PHP.

Use Cases for  Abstract Currency Exchange and Forex API

E-Commerce websites

This API is handy for E-Commerce websites serving visitors from other countries. With the help of this API, websites can present currency conversion rates to display prices in the visitors’ local currency.

 Forex Trading

This API can help international import and export businesses by helping them determine the selling and buying prices to book profits from different products and commodities. Currency conversion is also useful for forex traders, offering the ability to track changes in exchange rate valuations in real-time. even when not at the trading desk.

Cryptocurrency Conversion

The Currency Exchange and Forex API also facilitate conversion between fiat and cryptocurrencies, thus giving a boost to the crypto economy.


What is currency conversion?

Currency conversion allows the price measure of one currency to be converted to another currency.  Currency conversion is an important procedure in cross-border money exchange, forex trading as well as online transactions. Nowadays, even conversion to and from cryptocurrency is a frequent currency conversion operation performed on several online platforms that accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.  

What Is the Best Way to perform Currency Conversion?

The best way to convert Currency conversion is by using the Abstract’s Exchange Rate and Currency Converter API, which gives you the exchange value of over 150 currencies with over 10,000 currency pairs. This API is a reliable source of data from trusted partners to provide the most accurate currency exchange rates.

How Do You Perform Currency Conversion using PHP?

You can perform currency conversion using PHP by making a request to Abstract’s Exchange Rate and Currency Converter API with the help of the PHP curl library. 

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