I live in Zimbabwe where paying online is a nightmare if not almost impossible. I have this idea of creating sites that use mobile banking facilities available in Zimbabwe. The thing is I do not have enough money to pay someone do a mediocre job for me. I want to do it myself. The problem is I do not know what to read or where to start. I am not good but ok in PHP and C and I need to be pointed in the right direction.
What I want the site to do is to accept payments, communicate with the appropriate servers, process the transaction and send an SMS to the customer.
I don't understand the question completely. Do you want to develop a mobile website or a general website? First of all, I think banks won't allow third party developers to talk to their servers as this will be a potential security issue. I don't know about banks in Zimbabwe. If somebody from the bank approached you to build an app then that is fine. If you are planning for a mobile application, then you need to find which devices are mostly used in your country and build an application for that. For example,
1) If Nokia S40 devices are more then you need to go with Java applications
2) If Android is used more then you need to download the Android SDK, build the app and publish to the app store.
No I don't want a mobile app. If I want a mobile app it will be for me not for the client to talk to the bank. I was hoping I'd get pointers to what I need to read to be able to create APIs much like what they have for eBay. http://developer.ebay.com/common/api/
Ok. These APIs are called RESTful APIs. They will return the output as XML or JSON. JSON is easy to process than XML on mobile devices. To maintain security most of these websites use OAuth. OAuth is a specification that defines the communication mechanism between client and server without password. If you are familiar with any server side scripting like PHP/JSP/ASP etc. you can get these things done. Hope I answered your question.