When it comes to payments, mobile apps have to contend with a few unique challenges. In addition to the usual concerns around security and compliance, there’s also the issue of user experience. A bad payment experience can lose customers and damage your brand. That’s why it’s so important to get the mobile experience right, particularly regarding payments.
As with eCommerce and traditional payment systems, mobile commerce requires a payment gateway. A payment gateway solution is a service that authorizes credit card payments and processes them on behalf of the merchant. Through Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, or money transfers, the gateway enables more payment options for users and businesses.
There are many different payment gateways available, each with its strengths and weaknesses. The right solution for your business depends on your specific needs.
In this article, we will cover the ins and outs of payment gateways, why it’s wise to integrate one with your app, and how to actually do it.
- Why Would Companies or Developers Want a Mobile App Payment Gateway?
- Features to Look for With Your Mobile Payment Gateway Integrations
- How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your App
- Step By Step Guide to Integrating Your Payment Gateway With Your Mobile App
Why Would Companies or Developers Want a Mobile App Payment Gateway?
Mobile commerce represents 31% of all retail eCommerce sales in the USA, and mobile apps have particular pulling power. Fifty-three percent of smartphone users choose to buy from company-specific apps from the Apple app store or Google Play marketplace rather than mobile websites. And the conversion rates for apps are three times higher than typical online payments through mobile sites.
Mobile app development and adoption increase yearly, so these statistics will only continue to grow.
There are a lot of upsides to integrating payments into mobile apps. Even beyond the market growth, there are several other reasons why you might want to consider integrating a payment gateway into your mobile app:
Make it easier for customers to pay
Integrating a payment gateway into your mobile app makes it easier for customers to pay. They can do so without having to leave the app, which makes for a better user experience.
In addition, customers are more likely to complete a purchase if they don’t have to go through the hassle of inputting their payment information into a mobile website.
Generate repeat business
When you make it easier for customers to pay, they’re more likely to do business with you again. Industry data shows that when it comes to marketing spending, 82% of companies agree that it’s cheaper to invest in retention than acquisition.
By integrating a payment gateway into your mobile app, you can streamline the payment process and make it more convenient for customers. This, in turn, will lead to more repeat business.
It’s good for branding
When you integrate a payment gateway into your mobile app, you can control the payment experience and make sure that it’s in line with your brand.
On the other hand, a bad payment experience can damage your brand and cost you customers.
Features to Look for With Your Mobile Payment Gateway Integrations
Assessing the features of prospective payment gateways for your mobile app will help you determine which payment gateway meets your needs. Some of these will be standard across providers but with differences from brand to brand. Other features are unique.
When setting up your payment gateway, you will be required to set up a merchant account. This type of account allows you to process credit card payments through the payment gateway and receive those funds back into your bank account.
There are two types of merchant accounts:
A dedicated merchant account is a stand-alone account that is used only for your business. These accounts give merchants more control over how their money moves, but this does come at a higher cost than an aggregate option.
An aggregate merchant account is a shared account that is used by multiple businesses. This type of account is easier to set up, but there are no regulations in place to dictate how providers handle your funds.
Like the merchant account, there are two options for payment gateways.
- Hosted off-site
- Integrated into your store
A hosted off-site gateway takes the customer away from your site to complete the transaction. This can be disruptive to the user experience, and it can also make it more difficult to track conversions.
An integrated payment gateway is embedded into your app through payment APIs, which makes for a seamless user experience. This type of gateway is also easier to track, which can be helpful for conversion rate optimization.
As with web development, it’s important to consider the user experience. Integrating the payment gateway into your mobile app gives the benefits discussed above. Gateways hosted off-site are more often used by small businesses or those with low app traffic. These solutions don’t always allow you to retain the customers’ card data, meaning they will need to input this information for each transaction.
Payment gateways APIs
Payment gateways APIs allow you to integrate the payment gateway into your app. This gives you more control over the user experience and allows you to track conversions more easily. APIs, like the Stax API, allow you to customize your payment gateway integration with functionality like email or text invoices, single or recurring payments, and various other options.
Some payment gateways will provide their own APIs, while others will use third-party APIs. Always look at the APIs that give you the greatest insight into your payments.
If you plan on charging customers on a regular basis, you’ll need a payment gateway that supports this. Not all payment gateways support recurring billing, so it’s important to check before you sign up for a service.
If you plan on doing business internationally, you’ll need a payment gateway that supports multiple currencies. You may even wish to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Not all gateways support this, so it’s something to consider before you make your decision.
When it comes to payments, security is always a top concern. You’ll want to make sure that the payment gateway you choose has the latest security features in place. This includes PCI compliance (PCI DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), data encryption and tokenization, and fraud prevention. All of this helps you minimize chargebacks, and it keeps your customers’ card details safe.
Things can sometimes go wrong when dealing with payments. As such, it’s important to have a payment gateway that offers excellent customer support in case you need help.
As your business grows, you’ll want a payment gateway that can scale with you. This means that the gateway should be able to handle an increase in transactions without any issues.
Consider this from both the perspective of the gateway and the payment processor. Switching service providers as your business scales can present frustrating technical challenges. Start first with a payment processor that can grow with you.
How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your App
Now that you know the basics of payment gateways, here are a few things to remember as you compare providers.
Identify your requirements
The first step is to understand your needs. What type of business do you have? Are you selling digital goods, physical goods, or services? Do you need to support multiple currencies? Do you need recurring billing? What app frameworks and languages do you need the gateway to integrate with? Once you know what features you need, you can start to compare providers.
Know the costs
Next, take a look at the fees. Payment gateways typically charge setup fees, a per-transaction fee, and some also have annual or monthly fees. You’ll want to compare the total cost of each provider to see which one is the most affordable. Stax, for example, offers monthly membership fees, which keep fees low and ensure there are no surprises.
Evaluate the user experience
Consider the user experience. The payment gateway services you choose should offer a smooth checkout experience and make it easy for your customers to pay. It should also be easy for you to track conversions and manage your payments.
Top Mobile Payment Gateway Providers
There are many mobile payment gateway providers to choose from. Here are a few of the best payment gateways for mobile app purchases:
Stax is a mobile payment gateway that offers an easy-to-use API for developers. It provides all the features you need to accept payments in your app, including recurring billing and multi-currency support. Its simple-to-use SDK (software development kits) makes it easy to add payments to your mobile application with just a few lines of code. And monthly membership fees make it easy to keep your costs low.
Braintree offers a simple API that makes it easy to accept payments in your app. Braintree also provides a number of other features, such as fraud prevention and customer support.
Paypal is a popular brand, offering a complete solution for online and mobile payments. It provides a solid API, as well as several features such as recurring billing and customer support.
Stripe is another popular payment gateway that offers a payments API. It provides recurring billing, multi-currency support, and fraud prevention. It also offers an SDK that lets developers quickly add payments to their app with just a few lines of code.
Like the others, Adyen has an API and all the features you need to accept payments in your app, including recurring billing and multi-currency support. It also has an SDK that makes it easy to add payments to your app with just a few lines of code.
Authorize.net is a popular payment gateway in Canada and the US with all the features of those above; easy-to-use API and all the features you need to accept payments in-app, including recurring billing and multi-currency support.
Step By Step Guide to Integrating Your Payment Gateway With Your Mobile App
While the exact procedure for implementing the mobile payment gateway may vary from one provider to the next, here are some general steps to keep in mind.
1. Set up a merchant account
The merchant account required is through your payment processor, the organization that processes your credit/debit card transactions. Ideally, your payment processor will be the same company as the payment gateway provider. This allows you to manage everything from one central system.
2. Create an account with the payment gateway provider
Although your payment processor may be the same as the gateway provider (such as if you were to work with Stax), this is a service within the broader solution and will need its own setup.
You will set up the details of your account and connect it to your merchant account.
3. Obtain the necessary API credentials
API stands for “Application Programming Interface”. The payment gateway API is how the gateway will communicate with your app to process transactions.
To get started, you need to generate the API credentials from the payment gateway provider. This usually requires creating a test account first in order to avoid processing any real payments during development and testing.
4. Configure the payment gateway
The next step is to configure the payment gateway. This includes specifying the types of payments you want to accept, such as credit and debit cards, as well as setting up any other options such as recurring billing or fraud prevention tools.
5. Implement the payment gateway into your app
Now, you’re ready to start coding. The payment gateway provider will give you the necessary code snippets and documentation to help you get started.
You will need to implement the code into your app, which will handle the process of sending transaction data to the payment gateway and receiving confirmation back.
For both Apple’s iOS app and Google’s Android app, the steps to integrate your payment gateway are essentially the same. The programming languages may be different, but the process is similar.
a. Start accepting cards by using the Drop-in UI
The Drop-in UI is just a few lines of code that need to be embedded into your app’s code. You will get this code from your payment gateway provider.
b. Generate a client token with your server
A client token is a secure identifier that is used to initialize the Drop-in UI. This token is generated with your server and passed to your app. For every new app launch, you should generate a new client token.
c. Test your integration
Once you’ve completed the integration, it’s important to test it to make sure everything is working as expected.
6. Launch your app with the payment gateway integration
After you’ve completed testing and are satisfied that everything is working properly, you’re ready to launch the app payment gateway integration.
Just keep in mind:
- The steps may vary slightly depending on the payment gateway provider you choose.
- It’s important to consult your developer or development company before choosing a payment gateway or processor, as they will be the ones integrating it into your app.
- Be sure to test your integration thoroughly before launching your app to avoid any issues with processing payments.
For seamless payment gateway integration into your mobile app, the Stax API is your ideal solution. We offer a complete suite of tools to help you build, test, and launch your app with ease. And our comprehensive payment processing platform covers all of your payment processing needs online, in-store, and on mobile.
Contact us today to learn more.