Payment Gateway Integration in Mobile Apps Made Simple.
If you have created a mobile app, or are going to create one and hope to monetize the app in future, accepting payments in the mobile app is something you might wonder every now and then. In most of the cases, payment gateway integration in mobile apps is done to make sure that the customers are able to make payments in a secure manner. However, it’s way harder and more complicated than it sounds. Mobile app payment processing is a very profound and complex task, and the aim of this blog on payment gateway integration in mobile apps is to make it a cakewalk for you.
The era of doing everything online is well and truly upon us. Be it studying, shopping, watching our favorite content or doing anything else, technology has enabled us to do our favorite activities in the comfort of our homes, at the click of a button. Convenience and speed are big reasons why on-demand services are so popular these days. Be it for transportation, food delivery, or getting your car repaired, on-demand services have really become a way of life. What constitutes a major part of these services is the wide variety of payment options available to us. Cash on delivery, net banking, mobile wallets, and credit cards are just a few of the choices available to us when we pay for our favorite services. And the option of mobile app payment processing just adds the much needed positive user-experience to your app. These payment options in a mobile increase chance of a wide range of users using your platform and is in general something that should be practiced. That is the reason why developers, product managers, and entrepreneurs must be aware of the nitty-gritty involved with payment gateway integration in mobile apps. Whether it’s about integrating a payment gateway in android or an iOS app, the fundamental principles and rules don’t change much.
Here, we aim to help you with payment gateway integration in mobile apps, in the most simple and reliable of ways. We discuss the methods, the process, some examples, compliances and all else that you need to know for integrating payment gateway in android as well as iOS apps. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Mechanisms of payment gateways in mobile apps
When a customer attempts to buy a product or service at your platform, what exactly goes down? Let us take a brief look.
- The customer chooses a product or service and adds it to the shopping cart.
- When the customer requests to check out, the cart is connected to the payment gateway.
- The payment request is sent to the card processing company, where it is approved or declined.
- The customer is then redirected to the merchant site.
So, if you look at it, the process of payment gateway integration in mobile apps isn’t that simple after all. In addition to the payment gateway, the retailer or store owner will also require a merchant account where all the money goes. As such, there are two kinds of merchant accounts on offer-
- Aggregate. This is one place where you can store your money and other people’s money, such as affiliates. It is more popular and widely used than the other type of account that we are about to discuss. A simple process and quicker acquisitions are a few reasons as to why this type of merchant account is offered by the big boys like PayPal and Stripe who offer solutions for mobile app payment processing.
- Dedicated. For individual merchants and entrepreneurs, the dedicated merchant account seems like a perfect fit. Additional expenditure is however required to run this account so budgeting problems may arise in small firms. Controlling your own funds and expenses is a big advantage in this type of account, but the long process and extra expenditure bring it down.
So, this was the basics mechanisms of payment gateways which you needed to understand before you set out on your journey of payment gateway integration in mobile apps. Now, we shall discuss the use of APIs for the payment gateway integration in mobile apps.
Using APIs for direct credit card integration
Using app APIs for processing payments seems like a cakewalk but is far from one. You may land yourselves in a real pickle if things go awry. That is the sole reason I chose to discuss this part before addressing other considerations involved with payment gateway integration in mobile apps. Owing to the entire responsibility for processing a safe purchase by this method is one of the major points to worry about. In case of any mishaps such as fake dealings or mishandling of funds, you will be the one solely responsible for all losses incurred by all parties. If done well, however, it will surely turn out to be an asset for your platform, as cards are possessed by almost everyone these days and can be used as a great tool for accepting payments in a mobile app.
Before delving into the deep waters of payment gateway integration in mobile apps, it is important to keep in mind a few things that can help you massively in this complicated process. In the following section, we discuss a few things that one must know before integrating payment gateways in their platforms.
Tips for Payment Gateway Integration in Mobile Apps
1. Speed matters.
Settlements using your platform need to be as quick as possible. No customer or merchant wants to wait for a week to have their payments accepted and their goods delivered to them. This is a big pain point that you must strive to solve while you set out on your journey for integrating payment gateway in mobile apps. Sure, a two or three business day period works, but nothing longer than that can be accepted. This is important for you as well since the transfer of funds to your own account should also be a quick process. Always go for options that provide quick and easy settlements, so neither you nor your customers have to sit around lying in wait. That should be the end result of your means to payment gateway integration in mobile apps.
The quickness of the process depends on the SDKs that you integrate with the payment gateways. This is a crucial decision if you hope of accepting payments in mobile apps. Before you go ahead and use any of them, research on the different variants available and choose the absolute best one to fit your needs. Making sure that the payment is processed as fast as possible is perhaps the best thing you can do on your platform. So I hope you understand the importance of speed when it comes to payment gateway integration in mobile apps.
2. More alternatives, less friction
Frictionless payments are very general nowadays and everyone works hard to achieve it. You should too, keep this as the goal of your payment gateway integration in moble apps task. The key to having a huge customer base is to implement various payment alternatives in your gateway. Cash on delivery, credit and debit cards, net banking and mobile wallets are some of the various payment alternatives for accepting payments in mobile apps that developers must integrate into their platforms. If you want to cater to the needs of as many users as possible, it is advisable to implement all possible payment methods.
It is good practice to have a system in place that makes the payment process frictionless. When a shopper clicks on the ‘make payment’ button, they should not have to navigate through tens of pages and enter their info on five different websites to get their payments through. That is exactly what users do not want from their service providers, and they most certainly do not want to use three different apps to pay for their favorite pizza.
3. Analytics, statistics, and security
Constant reports and analysis can help developers and entrepreneurs stay wary of any issues or glitches creeping into their payment systems. Handling payment systems can be a bit of a hard task at times, so regular maintenance and analysis are what makes it easier. For security purposes, the PCI data security standard is still one of the go-to choices when it comes to securing cardholders’ data. If your app or platform is certified by PCI DSS, your shoppers will certainly feel a lot more comfort and security while making purchases from your platform.
4. Cost structures are important
Choosing cost structures that do not interfere with the regular working and overall quality of your platform is another important task. Proper research and planning beforehand can help you pick an option that is beneficial in the long term. Different structures, such as periodic, per-transaction or one time are available, and it is really up to you to decide what works best for you.
Direct credit card payment gateway integration
As discussed earlier in this article, direct credit card payment gateway integration can be a bit of a pickle. Still, it presents reasonable opportunity within itself and should not be considered as a negative option. Not all payment gateways support an authenticated tokenization process, though, which is required for accepting payments through a mobile app.
What happens when a call for payment is made? The API call hands back a token from your server’s secure environment, which represents the submitted card. The token thereon is used for transactions, and if the process is not provided by your API, then transactions will need to be handled by developers or workers themselves.
Reading about all these issues must make developers feel like credit card gateway integration is one thing they should steer clear of. But examples like Stripe and Braintree are a testament to the fact that said job can be done without much hassle. Offering native mobile libraries, Stripe and Braintree do the job for you, no matter if your app is on Android or iOS. This can also help you steer clear of PCI compliance concerns since sensitive credit card data actually doesn’t go through your servers. Authenticated tokenization is also incorporated since the libraries send encrypted card data in the form of tokens which are then used to carry out transactions.
The PCI compliance issue for Payment Gateway Integration
If you are a payment collecting service, one thing that you must put on the top of your list is the compliance with the Payment Card Industry compliance standards. It obviously needs a lot of work, a couple of months of tiring exhaustion, maybe- but it is necessary for anyone who accepts credit card payments. Depending on your business size, the compliance can cost you approximately USD 1000 to 50000 annually. If your app is simply passing on the data to the gateway for long-term storage, then you do not need so much effort for all compliances. The bottom line is, the PCI data security standards are something that cannot be taken lightly. For instance, Stripe and Braintree are both PCI level 1 providers, which is the topmost security level available.
Levels of compliance and requirements
Depending upon your business size and the number of transactions your platform handles annually, the PCI DSS compliance levels are given to compliant businesses. All levels have different sets of requirements, such as high volume of transaction sellers have to work in close conjunction with internal security assessors, qualified security assessors, and PCI approved scan vendors. There is no slacking on any requirements in the PCI DSS compliance. The board won’t give you a compliance certificate if you do not satisfy all requirements.
Here are the 4 levels of compliance offered by the PCI-
The most stringent form of certification, PCI level 1 compliance is applicable to sellers with over 6 million processed transactions annually, or sellers who have suffered data breaches or attacks that led to account data compromise. The requirements here consist of quarterly network scans by the PCI approved scan vendors, compliance form attestation, and an annual report on compliance by a qualified security assessor.
This level of certification is applicable to sellers processing 1-6 million transactions every year. Requirements are less stringent than those of level 1, and they consist of
- completing the PCI DSS self-assessment questionnaire according to the instructions
- completing and obtaining evidence of a passing vulnerability scan with a PCI ASV
- completing the attestation of compliance
- submitting the above to an acquirer
Applicable to sellers processing 20000 to 1 million e-commerce transactions every year, the level 3 compliance requires sellers to submit all documents as per the requirements of the level 2 compliance. Therefore, this level differs only in the number of transactions processed annually.
This level of compliance also has the same requirements as the level 2 and 3 compliance but is applicable to smaller businesses, those processing less than 20000 e-commerce transactions, and all other sellers processing up to 1 million transactions annually.
Consequences of non-compliance
Even though PCI isn’t a law, there are consequences of not complying with these standards. They may or may not be material, but can be of a huge magnitude. Data breaches, card replacement costs, and other activities could result from non-compliance with the PCI DSS. Huge financial losses in the form of fines can certainly destroy a business. Apart from fines, not complying with the PCI DSS could result in losses such as data breaches, diminished sales, losing customers, penalties, credit card replacement costs and even potentially going out of business.
Therefore, PCI DSS compliance is something that you, as developers or entrepreneurs, should be looking to read up and implement when you integrate payment systems into your mobile app. Non-compliance can have serious consequences, and make you lose a lot of money. You would not want that, would you?
Stripe vs. Braintree: Which is better for accepting payments in mobile apps?
Major payment processors and gateway providers for mobile platforms cannot be talked about without mentioning the two giants. Stripe and Braintree have been ruling the roost when it comes to payment gateways, and both are extremely good options to consider when integrating payment gateways into your mobile apps. But which one should you go for? We try to split them right down the middle.
Amid all competition, Stripe has regularly come out on top as the number one payment processor. Simple design and customizability give Stripe a significant edge over its competitors. Large volume library support and numerous APIs make it the perfect candidate to consider when you want to integrate payment systems into your mobile apps. A few advantages of Stripe include
- Support for both iOS and Android
- Social media integration for a streamlined payment process
- Monthly financial reports
- Customized payment forms
- Accepts more than a hundred currencies, including BTC
Considered by many as the simplest solution to make payments, Stripe is still going strong 7 years after its launch. Complete control over various parts of the payment process and no issues in processing transactions ensure that Stripe is and will be one of the best payment options out there. Further plans for expansion are also in the works, with reports of Stripe working around an infrastructure against mobile fraud and more.
Similar to Stripe, Braintree is another payments processor that can accept a wide variety of payment options, including but not limited to PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and credit cards. A product of PayPal, Braintree is now focusing on making the payment gateway fancy and trendy, with new foundations for accepting payments being launched, while keeping the great functionality intact. Faster mobile payment integration and full control over the user experience gives developers and entrepreneurs a completely different dynamic when it comes to integrating mobile payment gateways into their apps and platforms. One touch payment systems have also been introduced with PayPal, and this is an industry first. Some significant advantages of Braintree include-
- Recurring bill facilities
- One click authorization using Venmo or PayPal
- Compliance with PCI standards to make credit card payments safe
- Support for more than 130 currencies
Braintree is also looking to venture into the world of crypto. In association with Coinbase, they are hoping to successfully integrate payments with BTC into their mobile app payment gateways. This will add BTC to the existing payment options and is certainly a new and interesting move by Braintree. This makes Braintree even more interesting when it comes to payment gateway integration in mobile apps.
Who comes out on top?
Similar advantages and features ensure that choosing Stripe over Braintree or vice versa is not an easy task whatsoever. Both of them support over a hundred currencies, are looking to innovate with regards to cryptocurrency payments, and offer the best in class features for mobile payment integration. Granted, Stripe is more popular than Braintree, but it cannot be denied that with Braintree’s new features and ‘trendy’ payment options, it is sure to give Stripe a tough competition. As for now? Choose what you like!
European Payment Systems
One major downfall with both Stripe and Braintree is their limited functionality in regions of Europe. Some of the features that make these payment systems extremely popular cannot be used in Europe, so, it was natural that other payment gateways would come up. So if you are looking for payment gateway integration in mobile apps especially for European countries, this part is for you. As compared to the US markets, the process of transacting and processing payments is a little different in the European market and economy. International transactions and sales taxes are absurdly large in number, due to the many countries Europe is divided into. Sweden, for example, has payment companies catering to the needs of businessmen with intricate local knowledge. Some of these companies include Mondido, Klarna, and iZettle. Germany, which reports one of the lowest credit card usage numbers in the EU, has companies such as Paymill and payleven with business models similar to US companies.
As per the European central bank, payment systems can be classified into two types, systemically important and non-systemically important.
Was this helpful for Payment gateway integration in mobile apps?
Integrating payment gateways into your mobile platform can be a tough nut to crack. As this article has covered, it involves a lot of intricate steps, planning, methodical research and hard work to pull off this major coup. When you look to do the same, keeping in mind the major aspects of this article can help you make the process a whole lot easier. Different mechanisms of payments, tips and tricks to keep in mind before beginning, implementing APIs and SDKs in your app, compliance with PCI standards, and learning from the best players in the industry is what it’s all about.
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