How to Effectively and Safely Add Mobile Payments to an App
Ready to build payment capabilities into your app? Learn the nuances of mobile payment best practices, from cryptocurrency acceptance to TLS.
We use our smartphones for seemingly everything these days — from getting directions and chatting with friends to managing our bank accounts, it seems there’s an app for almost any activity imaginable. With over 5 million apps available between Google Play and the Apple App Store, chances are you’ve also tried your hand at launching or developing an app of your own. Whether an organizational tool or a game, however, one fact remains the same: if you want to make any money off your app, you need to find a way to enable mobile payment acceptance.
Though mobile payments can be very convenient for both you and your app’s users, implementing a reliable payment system isn’t always easy. Customers are understandably wary about sharing credit card info and other financial data through an app, and if your system has trouble processing payments, they could leave your app behind entirely.
Thankfully, with the right design and mobile payment practices, you can set up a mobile payment system that will work securely and effectively. Here’s what you need to do to make it work.
Accept diverse payment options
While many people in the United States are content with using credit cards to make in-app transactions, the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies illustrates the value of permitting multiple payment options. Many brands already allow users to buy app-specific tokens to facilitate future transactions and I’ve consulted with “round up spare change” giant BSTOW on implementing its own crypto payment feature for charity donations.
The value of allowing payment options other than credit cards is even more important when targeting a global audience. For example, in Southeast Asia’s growing gaming market, less than 3% of the population uses credit cards. Without tools like CloudMoolah, which enables blockchain-powered transactions for gaming apps, developers targeting a global audience could miss out on a significant portion of their audience.
“TLS” or transport layer security
One of the biggest challenges facing mobile app developers is ensuring the security of the payments they receive. How can you guarantee that your customers’ payment information isn’t stolen en route to your server? The answer lies in using TLS–the progeny of ever-popular “SSL”–to fully secure your app.
TLS encrypts data that is sent from a customer to your server, ensuring that it cannot be stolen or modified by hackers who might try to intercept the connection. Implementing TLS on your app and prominently displaying that your app uses this system will go a long way in providing peace of mind to your potential customers.
PCI compliance is a a major concern for app developers and other e-commerce stores, as penalties for non-compliance can easily result in six-figure fines from participating credit institutions. Of course, learning the ins and outs of compliance regulations isn’t exactly easy, especially when you have so many other business tasks to worry about. Because of this, many apps use a third-party payment processor like Stripe or Paypal to ensure their compliance.
With these third parties, your business never has direct access to a user’s card data. While these companies charge a small processing fee for handling your payments, their systems provide an additional layer of security to any transactions made within your app. When combined with TLS, this will help you increase sales numbers by giving users greater confidence in your security efforts.
Cut down the clutter
While some apps are designed for a purely transactional experience, this isn’t the case for everyone. After all, a person using a gaming app will spend most of their time focused on playing the game, rather than making additional purchases. Some companies essentially convert their website into an app format, preserving every element a user would find when browsing on a desktop.
With too much clutter, your mobile payment system won’t do you much good. Your customers need to be able to easily locate where they can make a purchase. Because of this, app designers should look for unnecessary elements that could be removed from the app. Simplifying menu options, increasing whitespace or even keeping a shopping cart icon visible at all times will make it much easier to direct app users toward making a purchase.
Facilitate the end result
At the end of the day, customers who attempt to make a purchase within your app have a specific goal in mind. Whether they’re trying to order food or buy an upgrade for their game, you don’t want to create unintentional roadblocks that keep them from quickly accomplishing these tasks — like failing to remove a bug that causes the app to crash. Mobile checkout should be faster than its in-store equivalent.
In addition to streamlining their design, many apps have successfully implemented features like one-click purchasing, which allows for an almost instantaneous transaction using previously saved billing data. Over half of Domino’s Pizza orders are now placed digitally, thanks in large part to the app’s user-friendly interface. Reducing the number of steps needed to complete a transaction will always result in a sales boost.
By creating a streamlined and secure approach for processing payments via your mobile app, you’ll be able to increase revenue and make your app even more engaging and useful for your customers. After all, the end goal of any app is to make life more convenient — and when you make payment processing simple and easy to navigate, you’ll be well on your way to making your app an indispensable part of your users’ lives.
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