How to Build a Secure and Easy Mobile Payment app

#1 Make money
#2 Use that money to make some more
#3 Repeat (c)

Assuming, we don’t need to tell you how huge the impact of the mobile digital wallets is these days when our lives are almost completely digitalized. All we have to do when are in need of some products or services is to push a couple of buttons on our mobile gadgets and voila – purchasing process is as easy as never. Thank to what? Mobile Payment systems – one of the handiest inventions in the last ten years.

How to develop a payment mobile app?

Custom payment mobile app development is, actually, booming right now and becoming more and more popular every day. But we can’t tell you that is an easy task... On the contrary! If you plan to build a mobile app for payments, be prepared that there are plenty of difficulties on the way and you should learn a lot. From the basics of coding to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance and standards.

Mobile payments

Where to start? In our post ‘Retail Mobile app Development. 10 Features That Enhance Customer Experiences’ we mentioned Mobile payment integration & mPOS (mobile point of sale) as one of the key features for retail apps. To use this function the users only need to place their credit card information into the app. No matter the kind of app, for physical goods selling or food delivery orders, there is an electronic money transferring option required. And the payment processing gateway should be extremely flawless, reliable and smooth.

So, what can we advise to help you with the idea to make a mobile payment app? First of all, you need to understand that mobile money management takes three steps: 1) collecting credit card information from the customer; 2) tokenizing customer’s credentials; 3) sending the token to the backend server to initiate a charge. And secondly, a digital wallet app must be totally secure and be able to ensure the protection of the customer’s credentials data.

Payment processing

Steps To Build a Secure and Easy Mobile Payment app

Life is a game.
Money is how we keep score (c)

1. Choose the app type you’re going to make

Do you want a unique mobile app for money handling or will you implement already existing payment system or mobile point-of-sale app such as Square or PayPal Here into your app? In other words, will you sell something directly to the app users or will there be another company involved to take care of payments from your customers? Besides this, you must decide whether or not do you need plastic card scanning (mPOS system) – where by a single touch to the plastic card an iPhone or a smartphone can read its number, expiry date, owner name, as well as the information about the latest transactions conducted with the card.

And don’t forget, we aren’t considering in-app purchases of digital goods on iOS and Android devices because they’re regulated strictly by App Store or Google’s Play services. They charge 30 percent share from every purchase made in your app, but only in case of digital products. So, as long as you plan to sell something real, you can choose whatever payment system you like. Want to expand your knowledge? Check out the review about 11 Innovative Mobile Payment Apps.

2. Define the approach to mobile app development.  Native apps vs Hybrid

This step is actually pretty important, ‘cuz the choice is going to make an impact on the cost of your app and its effectiveness. A piece of advice, native apps are up to 15 percent faster than hybrid apps, but the hybrids are cheaper to make and take less time to develop for different platforms. However, we must warn you, while hybrid apps help the business in these aspects, at the same time they prevent users from having the kind of user experience they expect.

Due to this fact, there is a risk of damage to the business in the long-term. To make a right decision and to find out which of these approaches is suitable for your project, you can read more about their specifics in our guide ‘How To Build A Mobile App In 7 Easy Steps’.  

3. UI/UX design

Design for payment app

The UI design should be plain and simple, ensuring that the app works fast and aren’t disturbing the users with its complicated money transfer processing or hard-to-understand details. Make sure to use the font and colors that will work for all ages and the whole concept should be reflecting your brand’s look and feel. For example, if there is an option of credit card payments in your app, then there should be a minimal credit card form with such details as name, email, credit card number, expiration month and year, CVV code and postal code. Include the amount of money on the app screen so the users know exactly how much they’re spending.

This clarity and transparency will attract customers having them know that their membership with the app is valued. And keep in mind the necessity of user engagement – you not only have to get them involved with your app, you have to make them stay in a long-term relationship. So, consider developing the loyalty system with  loyalty cards and coupons for selected users.

To keep up with the latest news in the world of the mobile payments industry and explore the current trends, we recommend developing a habit of reading some informative resources, such as Mobile Payments Today.

4. Credit card data storage and handling. Gateway API and SDK

A mobile payment app allows you to store and use your debit, credit, ID, insurance memberships and loyalty cards. It turns all that information into a barcode to be scanned by merchants. But to become a mobile payment provider of choice, you must offer the customers an attractive and simple user experience based on NFC, QR, SMS etc., that helps to build tight bonds between the brand and the consumers. Therefore, you should learn how to properly handle and store all the credentials that your users entrusting you with.

You must not store the credit card data in your app directly, for this purpose, there are a large number of the specific payment gateways that are designed to process credentials transaction through their APIs. But don’t get too excited, you’re still responsible for the security of credit card data, even after gateway  API integration, since that data now passes through your mobile app. It’s a limiting factor, for sure, because integrating with these APIs depends on the implementation and client library support which can be as delightful as completely frustrating in the most cases.

Furthermore, some of the payment gateways don’t support an authenticated tokenization process, which is required for accepting payments from a mobile app. Ideally, the API call should hand back a token from your secured server. Such token represents the submitted credit card, therefore, can be used to make actual transactions. But if the tokenization functionality isn’t available in the chosen gateway API, you will be obligated  to handle the process yourself.

Most of the gateways offer mobile-specific libraries that provide their own payment UI components making collecting payments within a mobile app trivial. A gateway API direct usage allows complete control of the UX at the expense of increased development complexity and gateway lock-in. Not to mention, there are well-supported mobile SDKs for that APIs that would be a good option for a startup with the limited budget. In this case, the credit card data will be handled by their libraries, reducing your PCI compliance exposure and implementation efforts.

Check this out, API’s for secure obtaining of the credit card info:

  • WePay API that stores a credit card info securely on WePay's servers, and returns your platform a token. It can then be used to complete a transaction without any further user interaction.
  • The tutorial for Android Pay API that lets customers digitize and securely store your loyalty cards, gift cards, and offers in their Android Pay app. Users love the convenience of hassle-free checkouts. Merchants enjoy simple integration and benefit from higher conversions.
  • Collecting Payment Methods in iOSSpreedly API library that supports Apple Pay so you can enable users to make payments without entering their credit card info. Spreedly also de-couples PCI compliance from the payment provider allowing merchants and marketplaces to build simple, secure and flexible payment stacks.

5. Security and liability & Data Protection. PCI compliance

Besides all the other concerns you have to be aware of when directly handling credit card data, the first and most important is that you are now under the obligation to make a secure mobile app for payment and to get in the Payment Card Industry compliance (PCI). If you’re merely passing through the card data to a gateway API for long term storage you may only have to complete a PCI self-assessment questionnaire.

But anyway, you have to ensure that no sensitive information is stored in your app or transferred to the POS, because you’re collecting payments, you must secure your users’ financial data. And PCI compliance has nasty requirements –  becoming PCI certified startup can take months even if you’re not a newbie and your company specializes in storing and processing credentials.

But there is a sort of way out. The gateways that we described above or popular payment systems (Stripe, PayPal and Braintree owned by PayPal) offer robust native mobile libraries for iOS and Android and sensitively ease PCI compliance for you by transforming an encrypted credit card data into a token. Using these platforms you can easily avoid most PCI compliance concerns due to the fact that sensitive credit card info skips your own servers.

For example, both Stripe and Braintree are certified as a PCI Level 1 Service Provider, the most strict level of certification available. Stripe has a more comprehensive SDK and documentation than Braintree, including the ability to work with coupons and vouchers at the API level, whereas Braintree requires users to log in through a dashboard to accomplish that. But both platforms do have a fee: 2.9% of the charge plus 30 cents/successful charge for Stripe and 2.9% of the charge plus 30 cents/transaction (after the first $50K) for Braintree.

As for the PayPal, it’s one of the oldest on the market and already a worldwide-recognized brand. The Payment REST API allows a more sophisticated programmatic implementation of PayPal payments for both immediate and deferred payment capture. PayPal’s Mobile SDK is native app support SDK, allowing apps to easily accept credit card payments. And PayPal leverages Braintree’s v.zero client-side SDK to accept payments from Bitcoin and all major credit cards.

The pricing is 2.9% of the charge plus 30 cents/transaction (for the first $0-$30K monthly).

Credit cards

6. Handling Errors

Sensitive errors in the mobile payment app will happen, no matter who’s fault it will be – the user’s, the bank’s, or your own server’s. And instead of asking them to re-enter their information or come back into app later, handle the issue as best you can, so that the users can fix the problem themselves or call their bank and pass the responsibility to its workers. The ways to do such tech support for your customers could be a simple highlighting of the error in red or a clear and ease-to-understand explanation for any server issues to reassure the user that it’s not his/her fault if this is the case.

How TecSynt Can Help Your Cause

As you see by now, the UI design and a technical implementation of your mobile payment app are a huge deal. And if you don’t have the right experience in this field or a high set of programming skills, it’s better for you as long as for your future clients to hire a qualified mobile app development company. Only the team of professionals will help you to avoid a bad UX and technical glitches in the final product.

And how can we help? Our company will develop for you a user-friendly, secure and trustworthy mobile app for payments as fast as possible, that will support every major mobile operating system. It also will be fully integrated with a device secured credentials and fitted with your loyalty and marketing platforms. We ensure you, that there will be a complete technical support for our client through all the way of the development process and a while after it.

We hope, the information above was helpful
and we are always here to discuss it further with you.
Sincerely,
TecSynt Team

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