Dear Luc: I want to offer Apple Pay, how easy is mobile wallet integration?
In Dear Luc, we answer the questions the industry’s fintech founders are too afraid to ask, and solve the problems they don’t want their VCs to know about.
From regulation readiness to technology teething troubles, our start-up agony uncle, Luc Gueriane, is here to help.
Luc has over seven years’ experience working with flagship fintechs like Revolut, Transferwise, Monzo and Curve.
His expertise and extensive work in the fintech ecosystem mean that Luc is able to offer unique insight into the building of a successful fintech company.
Confession #5: Insert “Pay” here
I want to offer Apple Pay and Google Pay, but don’t know how to integrate them. How easy is it to build these into my offering?
It is no surprise that there is great demand from fintechs to add mobile wallets to their programmes. In part because of the rapid popularity of mobile payments during lockdown and the lack of chip and pin usage. But, also because it is now the norm for users to be offered many different payment options. According to GlobalData, mobile wallet adoption rose worldwide to 46% in 2020, and it will no doubt continue to grow.
Yet founders are often shocked at how complicated it can be to integrate Apple Pay, Google Pay and other mobile payment methods into their offerings.
When you want to use a wallet provider like Apple Pay, you are asking to represent the “superbrand” that is Apple. By doing so you are agreeing to its terms for things like costs, user experience (UX) and marketing.
Apple, understandably, wants Apple Pay to run flawlessly regardless of where it is being used, and any interruption won’t reflect well on it. To ensure this high standard, it provides minimum requirements for the customer experience so that consistency is mirrored across the board. It’s also worth noting that Apple’s specifications aren’t necessarily things we as consumers would notice. That very fact we don’t notice these details is exactly why the experience is so seamless.
It is important to remember when creating any financial product that it is fundamental from a regulatory and reputational point of view for it to work exactly as intended. This is why some of the most successful card programmes have several partners working behind the scenes providing specialist services to help tick both boxes.
However, it is still complicated to take a financial product to market because there are a lot of different moving parts with the card scheme, processor, app developer and issuer all involved. But it is these parties who are ensuring operational efficiency, compliance and a consistent user experience. When you want to provide mobile wallets, these partners are crucial to getting things right.
These are some of the key requirements and considerations for you and your value chain to think about:
- The issuer must have a relationship with the provider and be recognised as an “eligible issuer”, and be MDES (Mastercard) or VTS (Visa) “enabled”.
- The processor must be certified for MDES/VTS. If your partners aren’t certified, you may need to factor in a longer lead time to get everything up and running properly.
- The app developer must be able to adhere to wallet standards including complex flows such as in-app provisioning. For example, they will need to be able to take the Primary Account Number (PAN) information from the processor and send it elsewhere.
- Every new Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay product needs to be tested and approved by your partners. Therefore, it must be configured at a scheme level and must demonstrate it works in a certified testing lab before it can launch.
These are just some of the main considerations. If adding a mobile wallet is on your roadmap, I’d recommend you select partners based on their eligibility to assist you in making this a reality. Your partners will be able to give you a realistic idea of the costs, timelines, and resource involved, and can use their experience to help guide you through the process.
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