So, you’ve decided to build your own payment platform. It doesn’t seem too difficult. After all, the market is packed with payment service providers who once tried building it and are now boasting of their top-of-the-industry payment systems.
However, even though you might think that the process isn’t that difficult, as you step on this path and get ankle-deep in bureaucracy and overwhelming industry-specific technologies, you realize how far from the truth you’ve been.
If this doesn’t scare you, then read on, the Brave One: in this article, we’ll walk you step by step on your way to building your very own MVP of a payment orchestration platform. We’re speaking from our own experience: Akurateco has recently revamped our
whole payment software, implemented the latest technologies, and learned how to build a reliable system the hard way. We’ll save you the trouble of going through this pain by sharing our story with you. So, read on and learn from our experience.
Payment platform MVP: Stage 1
We’ve split the whole MVP development process into two stages. We built the basic and most crucial functionality first and then upgraded the system bringing it to a brand-new level at the second stage. Here’s what we did in the first place.
1. A payment platform typically requires the development of the following entities:
- Payment request meaning a payment itself and all the data related to it.
- Transaction meaning all the payment request status changes.
- MID or a merchant account at an acquiring bank.
- MRP or a system referral agent with all the business data required.
- Merchant meaning a specific entity inside the system with access to all the required business data.
- Payer or an entity of a payer inside the system containing all the necessary business data.
- Mapping or a connection between a Merchant and MID.
- Connector meaning an API interaction with a payment gateway of an acquiring bank or another PSP.
- White label or an organization that has its own Merchant, MID, and other entities isolated from other organizations.
- User or an Admin Panel user.
- Role representing a User.
- Critical card data (CCD) or stored PAN and expiration date information.
- Dictionary represents a set of data periodically used in the system (for example, Countries, Business types, etc.)
- Antifraud plan or a set of rules that cancel a payment request under certain conditions.
2. Built a high-level data model design.
The next step is building a high-level data model design based on the basic entities we described above and interconnections (ER model). Along with that, you have to start building and designing databases for your payment system.
3. Created the transaction flow.
The development of the transaction flow functionality basically focuses on creating, designing, and enabling several types of transactions:
- SALE (SMS)
A crucial step for any payment system is data encryption. Protecting your customers’ data requires taking measures in the early stages of your payment system MVP development. Data encryption functionality includes card data ciphering, cleaning, and removal.
5. Created a test connector.
Before you integrate all the basic connectors to banks and payment methods your target audience needs and expects, start with a single connector to test the performance of your transactions. The development of a single connector takes up to two weeks.
6. Developed an API interaction protocol.
Specify the application development interface rules and definitions for building and integrating your application software by the third parties. Simplify it and keep it short and sweet for your potential customers.
7. Built an Admin Panel.
The Admin Panel includes a set of all features for managing the basic entities, analyzing the transaction data passing through the system, and building detailed reports for data-driven business decision-making.
The Admin panel includes:
- User management section with access to ACL settings;
- Transaction monitor or a table with all the system transactions and detailed reports;
- Configuration or a module to set up and configure the basic entities;
- Antifraud management section to manage and monitor all the Antifraud plans.
8. Created the ACL functionality.
The functionality in question allows the admin of the system to set up limitations on user rights and access depending on their roles.
9. Developed a built-in Antifraud module.
A robust antifraud system helps you strengthen your reputation as a reliable payment service provider by preventing fraud and potential chargebacks.
The module development must be based on the following checks:
- Allow Issuer Only From Country
- BIN Blacklisted
- Card Blacklisted/Whitelisted
- Email Blacklisted
- Geolocation Blacklisted
- IP Blacklisted/Whitelisted
- Brand Decline For Country
- Decline All
- Transaction amount
- MaxMind Risk Score
10. Decline management functionality.
Finally, the last stage of the first MVP development was the creation of a detailed decline reason management system. We wanted to offer our clients a chance to closely monitor and clearly understand why their transactions were declined. This feature took
time but it was totally worth it.
At this point, we had our minimum viable product. It was well-functioning and easily executed the basic operations. However, we knew that having the bare minimum isn’t enough to conquer the fierce competition in our market. So, we spent the next year or
so upgrading the system and implementing sophisticated technology to meet the needs of the most demanding clients.
Payment platform MVP: An upgrade
Once we had the minimum viable product that we could start pitching and selling, we built a roadmap for the improvement of the existing system. It consisted of roughly 11 steps that, one by one, revolutionized our white-label orchestration platform and brought
us to the top of the game. Below are the steps.
- New design of an Admin Panel.
Even though, as we mentioned before, we already had a solid Admin Panel, it wasn’t everything our customers expected from it. Therefore, we used the existing version as a foundation and completely revamped the face of the system according to the latest UI/UX
- Search functionality.
Next, we decided to change the search functionality. We aimed to allow our customers to easily search the transactions. Thus, we implemented an easy-to-navigate search functionality where they could insert their parameters and get relevant results within seconds.
- Transaction export.
Our third priority was the optimization of the data management engine. We implemented simplified data usage for our users by allowing them to export transaction data into a single file.
- Analytics modules.
Finally, we proceeded to set up optimized analytics modules. The idea was, once again, to let users easily get all the necessary data from the system in a few clicks. For it, we created diagrams and detailed reports for the main cards transactions during a
specific period. Among the first filters which we implemented were sales, refunds, chargebacks, and sales by country.
At this point, we started onboarding live clients. And the need to keep up with the growing expectations and a steady flow of requests for new software helped us take the software to a brand-new level.
Next, we moved on to improve the main dashboard of the system. We focused on minimizing the load time within realistic timeframes. So, now, depending on the volumes of data passing through the system, the load time varies for every user, but, ultimately, the
system keeps all the processes “sweet and short.”
Besides that, we also implemented text charts and graphs to represent different metrics on the main dashboard inside an Admin Panel.
- Checkout development.
Both a checkout page and its protocol were at the top of our “Upgrade” list. We wanted to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted checkout experience for the users of our system. Therefore, we utilized cutting-edge technologies to create a fast and well-functioning
payment page on the server’s side. Moreover, we put an extra effort into building a system with simple aggregation of all the necessary payment methods. This way, a merchant can easily configure the connectors, let his customers pay with their preferred methods,
and grow the list of available connectors.
- Billing Merchant functionality.
Further on, we resumed work on the Billing Merchant function, which aims to help system users perform financial calculations for a merchant inside a payment management system. This feature allows them to calculate their commissions and fees for every merchant
making the analytics and payment data management a breath.
- Billing for MRPs.
Billing for MRPs is based on the same principle as the system we mentioned above. However, with it, MRPs can calculate their specific commissions and fees for every referred payment service provider to the system. On top of that, this functionality allows them
to change and adjust for what to charge each client. It truly is a revolution in the payments industry!
- Custom Routing.
Among other features we worked on while building an upgrade of our payment solution is custom routing. We did our best to make sure that routing can be both automatic and manual inside our system. This means that a user can specifically choose whether to pre-define
rules for transaction routing or manually adjust them and stay involved in the process as much as possible. This feature helps to increase the payment approval ratio by times if done right.
What’s DMS in card transactions? DMS is when the customer isn’t immediately charged for the goods and services. Instead, the money is put on hold on his account. In a way, it looks like the customer is making a request for the goods, and until the purchase
is completed, the funds are reserved on his account. It is a quite common transaction type for many online businesses. So, to be able to cater to a wider audience, we added DMS to our upgraded solution.
Last but not least, we integrated connectors with the most popular acquiring banks. Typically, the development of a connector takes up to two weeks. But because we wanted to help our clients start off faster, and, for it, they need plenty of connectors, we
gave them a head start by implementing these connectors in advance.
These are the most crucial features of a good payment system that is ready to beat the competition. We split it into several stages, aiming to start making money with the basic system while working on its improvements. You can adapt our experience to your
particular situation. But no matter how you decide to do it, use our list as a cheatsheet when developing a payment system MVP.
Alternatively, you can use a white-label solution instead of building your own. With a white-label platform, you’ll get access to hundreds of connectors, smart routing, cascading, smart invoicing, and many other top-of-the-industry features without having
to develop them on your own. It will save you up to 600.000USD and two years of active development.
If you’re considering a white-label payment system, Akurateco is your go-to solution. With 15+ years of hands-on experience in the payments industry, we know the ins and outs of the market, understand your pains and customers’ expectations - and are ready
to deliver a high-quality product and 100% technical support along the way. Besides, we’ll adjust the system to your needs by developing special features you need for your business. And what’s more, if the feature you’re requesting is already in our backlog,
and you’re ready to wait until we get to develop it, we’ll offer this feature to you for free as soon as it hits production.
In 2021 alone, we added 60+ new connectors and several important features including:
- Customer invoices;
- Android and IOS SDK;
- Tokenization + credit cards' vault;
- Localization of the admin panel;
- Currency exchange module and many others.