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When it comes to choosing a payment service provider and integrating payments into a web app or online service, there’s no one quite as experienced as agency-side developers and architects.

And so to come up with an exhaustive list of things to consider when you’re planning on building payments into an app or service, we picked the brains of Ahti Nurminen who works as a solution architect at Frantic and has over 20 years of experience in building digital products and services for dozens of customers ranging from charities to consumer and B2B companies.

1. Understand the customer’s business

“We always start the process by exploring the customer’s business objectives,” Ahti says. “In practice, that means looking at things like their business model and the payment methods they currently support.”

At this point, you should ask questions like:

  • What kinds of payments is the customer looking to receive, i.e. one-off transactions vs. recurring payments?

  • Which payment methods do they currently support (if any)?

  • Which payment methods should be supported at launch? What about in the future?

  • Will the customer need to handle refunds?

  • Does the customer require any additional merchant features?

  • Are there any specific IT or security requirements?

And if you have some prior experience from payment integrations, you might already be able to come up with a few possible alternatives based on these answers.

“For example, if we know that the customer is in the subscription business and wants to accept monthly recurring payments, we know that Payment Highway might be the right fit. However, if the customer only wants to accept payments through online banks, we’ll recommend something else entirely.”

2. Do your research

If you have a ton of experience in payment integrations, feel free to skip this step and move onto the next one.

But if not, now is the time to reach out to your developer friends, your Twitter contacts, and your good friend Google. Because those are the top 3 resources that can help you come up with a list of optimal payment service providers for the project that you’re working on.

And remember that you can always book a 30-minute call with our product owner if you have questions about Payment Highway.

3. Focus your sights on the end user

Now that you know what the business needs and have some kind of an idea about the solutions out there, it’s time to start thinking about a third group of people: the end users of the app or service.

“Once we have a clear understanding of the business requirements, we usually get together with the design team to figure out how the users can complete a transaction — be it a purchase or a donation — in as few steps as possible,” Ahti explains. “We obviously don’t want the user to have to leave the service to complete the payment, but fortunately almost all payment service providers have a solution for that.”


4. Assess implementation difficulty

At this point, you might also want to take a look at the payment service providers’ APIs, UI components, and libraries to find out what the implementation process would look like in practice.

“The good news is that today, most payment service providers offer APIs with decent documentation, which makes integration quite easy,” Ahti says.

“But even though existing integrations can be partially reused when we’re switching payment platforms, the chosen platform can affect the scope — and thus price — of the integration project. That’s why it’s important that our analysis also covers indirect costs.”

5. Compare the finalists and (let your customer) make the call

If you’re working for a customer, your best bet at this point is to put together a short report where you compare and contrast a few of the most suitable alternatives.

“At the end of the day, it’s the customer who will be using the solution, so the decision is ultimately theirs. However, we are happy to help them in the process as much as we can,” Ahti says.

In the report, compare at least the following:

  • Key features

  • Ease of integration

  • Payment security

  • Possible UX implications

  • Pricing

Now, if you’re working in-house, you may either want to make the decision yourself or pass your findings onto someone who can make the call.

And should you need any help with getting started with payment integrations, feel free to contact us with all things payments — be it technical or not.