How Payments Platforms Fit into Your Tech Stack

Written by: James O'Donnell

It’s a simple truth: sooner or later, most business platforms need payments. No matter what services your platform offers — from eCommerce to marketing to global education — you’ll very likely have to add a payments partnership to the mix. Ideally, you want to enable your clients to leverage payment capabilities within the systems that are already powering your platform and your clients’ businesses. So the question is, how do you incorporate a payments platform effectively and efficiently?

The answer depends on whether you’re building a tech stack from the ground up or adding payments to an existing tech stack.

Building a New Tech Stack around Payments

If you’re building a new tech stack, whether it’s an entirely new product or a mobile app for an existing service, you should seamlessly integrate payments right from the beginning and build your stack around payment functionalities.

Fintech or eCommerce companies tend to follow this model, but providers across all industries should strive to follow suit in order to create a smooth and robust tech stack. After all, this is the simplest and best scenario for platforms that need payments — there’s nothing to undo and no existing work to tiptoe around.

At the same time, starting from scratch means you should invest extra resources into choosing the right payments partner the first time. Research your options thoughtfully.

Consider your organization’s needs…

Ideally, you want to partner with a payments provider whose services are easy to build into your tech stack. For instance, it’s more challenging and costly for developers to maintain multiple integrations. Find a provider with fewer integrations with everything you need the first time so that payment processing doesn’t require layers of integrations that will strain your tech infrastructure.

You should also consider how you want to incorporate those payment features. Do you want a white-labeled solution for a clean experience, or a more standard partnership where you refer your clients to your payments provider? Make sure your chosen provider enables you to develop the solution you prefer. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in technical debt down the road.

That doesn’t mean you should only consider things like coding and development — those pieces are important, but they’re not the only factors that matter.

…as well as the needs of your clients.

Consider what your customers will look for, such as an easy onboarding process or a seamless experience for their customers. An onboarding experience with too much friction will discourage clients from signing up to process payments on your platform, which defeats the purpose of integrating payments. Similarly, your clients won’t buy into a payments solution that feels disjointed from your platform because it would provide a negative experience for their customers.

It’s also easy to go wrong here if you don’t plan far enough ahead. When developing a new tech stack, don’t just address your immediate payment needs. Anticipate the functionalities your customers might need down the road, such as cross-border and global payments. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll find yourself spending resources to rework that platform as you expand and the needs of your customers multiply — it can become a development nightmare.

In short, building payments into your tech stack from the word “go” is the best case scenario. Just make sure you find the right partner the first time to avoid headaches later.

Incorporating Payments into an Existing Tech Stack

Adding payments to your technology infrastructure after the fact may be more complicated, but it’s also pretty common: as your clients grow, the needs of their businesses and customers will change, and those clients will look for more features from your platform as a result. Platforms with a fully developed product or tech stack then realize they need to provide payments where they didn’t before, or that their payments provider is no longer cutting it. The best way to overcome that technical debt from a flawed first setup is to do it right, once and for all, with a partner that meets all your needs. So what’s the next step?

Identify the additional functionalities you need.

Just as you would when building a new tech stack, consider the additional payment processing capabilities you need now, as well as what you may need in the future. Then search for a partner that offers all of those features.

Rather than continually cobbling together a new payments solution, it’s best to rework your solution with a payments platform that both fits into your tech stack and meets all of your payment needs. Instead of adding a new integration to your infrastructure every time your customers operate in a new country or you offer a feature in a new location, work with a flexible and robust payment solution so that you can offer full international payments capabilities.

Switching to a more complete payments partner may require more work up front, but it saves you significant resources and creates more satisfied customers in the long run.

Seek out expertise to manage the transition.

Once you’ve decided to upgrade, you then need to consider how you’ll accomplish that change without negatively impacting your current technology infrastructure. Without guidance, you risk creating choppy experiences for your clients or limiting features by neglecting to add core functionality. Worse, you might even break your tech stack accidentally during the process.

If you have an existing tech stack, you need a partner that has expertise in both payments and software. Find a payments provider that has experience with a wide range of tech stacks. That partner can offer guidance to help you incorporate payments in a holistic way that enables you to grow.

Integrating with the Right Partner

Whether your product is fully built out or still in its early stages, look for a payments partner that understands the needs of your clients as well as your platform. Research thoroughly for a comprehensive yet simple solution, because no matter your situation, the best option is to get payments right the first time.

Here are a few key takeaways to guide you:

  1. Consider your platform’s development and business needs
  2. Consider the needs of your customers
  3. Anticipate future needs, particularly global payments
  4. Seek out expert advice

Want to see some real-life examples of how different companies integrated with a payments platform? Check out this case study for Veracross, a school information systems provider, or this case study on GreenRope, an all-in-one CRM platform, to see how your platform could benefit from a partnership with BlueSnap.

 

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