3 learnings from implementing mobile payments

Krzysztof Wiercioch | Fri Oct 10 2014

A credit card payment method is a common choice among customers, as it guarantees a fast and safe transaction with any bank. For developers, it’s also relatively easy to create a purchase process in which a customer gets instant access to content (especially when it comes to subscriptions) after adding their credit card. However, more and more buyers are opting for mobile payments.

Because of this, developers have needed to shift their thinking into a problem-solving mode: Will this be a recurring payment? Can the customer unsubscribe the payment and, if so, how? Which mobile payment provider should the customer choose?

In this blogpost, I’d like to first describe the mobile implementation process that challenged our Cleeng development team, and then share our answers to the above questions. 

Below are our top three considerations for developing a mobile payment gateway:

1. Choose your mobile payment provider wisely:

Up until now, all of our solutions that related to payments have been based on those delivered by Adyen, a well-known international payment services provider. As a global payments company, Adyen offers multi-channel payment solutions for 2,500 different payment methods in 187 currencies. Although we have relied on Adyen heavily, we had no choice but to select another company that is experienced in mobile payments.

The following checklist of questions proved helpful while searching for the right mobile payment partner (not including the commercial considerations):

  • Do they offer a SMS payment service?
  • Can they offer support subscription / recurring payment?
  • Have they created good documentation of all of the processes involved?
  • Are they fast and do they offer prompt support?
  • Is their API not only easy to tie to, but also secure?

Our choice turned out to be the leader in mobile payment methods in Europe - VirgoPass, as this company has fulfilled all of our expectations.

2. Mobile checkout = different approach:

During the process of selecting a mobile payment provider, we had to think through how best to introduce the new payment method into our existing checkout flow in a fast yet reliable way. To do this, we asked ourselves a few questions:

  • How quickly can we implement the new payment method?
  • How can we render it in the proper form for our use?
  • How will we calculate the payment method fees for the new processes?
  • What will change for our clients, and how will the new system compare to the other payment methods we’ve had in place?

As you can see in the diagrams below, the workflow of SMS payments is much different than default credit card flow.

For a client using a credit card, they have to enter their card number and confirm the transaction. Within a few seconds the authorization and settlement of the payment are processed and the client gets access to the content. Here’s how the entire flow process unfolds:


In the case of SMS payments, there is an additional action for the client:  he needs to confirm the transaction using an SMS code. At this point the process needs to be fast, but still user-friendly, and shouldn’t give the customer a headache.

 Here’s the process for the SMS payments that we’ve enabled:


3. Subscription logic has to be..logical

The biggest problem for us with the implementation of mobile payments was the ‘translation’ of the subscription logic to the mobile payment flow. Before now, the subscription for credit card payments had been completely under our control; we were deciding who had to be charged and when. As a result, we could easily set up subscriptions for different time periods.

In the case of mobile payments, though, the VirgoPass brand is the one that controls when to charge. It therefore became necessary for us to implement a different provider and a different method for notifications, such as purchase confirmation, renewal confirmation etc. We also had to add many new elements to our database.

Our next problem was with the protocol for unsubscribing API. Unfortunately, the country where we were launching mobile payments doesn’t support this functionality. Since we have this option in our platform for other payment methods and it was automatic, we had to figure out how to make unsubscribing easy for clients who are using mobile payments. To do so, we simply relied on an internet guide that clearly explains step-by-step how to go about unsubscribing.

As a result, we’ve built a fresh and coherent user-friendly mobile payment subscription system that allows Cleeng’s publishers to offer yet another comfy and rapid way of paying for video content. With just one click, their customers can enjoy live and on-demand videos anywhere in the world and, at the same time, bring higher conversion to the content owners.

Interested in offering your customers customized mobile payment flow? Contact our team at theteam@cleeng.com. Questions? Let me know in the comments, thanks!

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