Adrita Bhor is the Senior Director of Product Management at PayPal. She has spent years working in the field of APIs and platforms. In this article, she has discussed use cases on embedded payments in B2B and B2C.
Embedded payments in finance
Embedded payments refer to integrating payment processing into another set of platforms or applications. These integrations are most likely API integrations, and they are supposed to provide a seamless customer experience for payment processing, e-commerce, or banking to traditionally non-financial business verticals like transportation or healthcare. This takes away the complexities involved in core payment processing and allows newer contexts to be built for traditional industries just trying to move toward digital payments.
How do we build this platform?
The most important thing to understand when you are considering building API platforms is who you are building it for, how they will use it, and what kind of regulatory compliance you are looking at. When building these API platforms, you are thinking about a seamless and optimized customer experience. You must understand their integration use cases and different customer segments.
You must also try to understand a little about your clients and their customers; are the payments inside their ERPs, or are there any cross-border transactions?
Once you know what you’re building, you have to build a roadmap for the development process. You must build Postman collections for your APIs so that the clients can check feasibility before investing. When you build these APIs, you must build them so that some of these capabilities can be customized for the client’s industries. It’s hard to do that because various industries have many nuances. But clients also seek a tailored payment experience for their payment processing needs. So you must think about building APIs and how those APIs are customizable or configurable over time.
Strengths of embedded payments
- Seamless and convenient – Embedded payment models offer a convenient and seamless payment experience, reducing the need for customers to leave a platform to complete a transaction.
- Increased user engagement and retention – payment and financial services can increase user engagement and loyalty by providing added value to customers.
- Expanded customer base – By integrating payments into their products and services, embedded payment models can reach new customers who may not have been interested in standalone payment solutions.
Weaknesses of embedded payments
Third-party platform dependency – Embedded platforms can limit their flexibility and control over user experience.
Security and fraud risks – Embedded payment models may be vulnerable to security and fraud risks, damaging client reputation and eroding customer trust.
Complex regulations – Embedded payment models may be subject to complex regulatory compliance requirements, which can increase costs and limit innovation.
Market growth – The demand for embedded systems is expected to grow as more businesses and consumers seek convenient and seamless payment experiences.
Innovation – Embedded payment systems can drive innovation in the payments industry by integrating new technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and biometrics.
New revenue streams – Embedded payment models can provide new revenue streams for businesses charging payment and financial services fees.
Competition – Embedded payment models face competition from traditional payment providers and other fintech startups, which may offer similar or superior solutions.
Changing consumer preferences – Consumer preferences and behavior can change quickly, making it difficult for embedded payment models to stay relevant and adapt to new trends.
Regulatory changes – Changes in regulations and compliance requirements can pose a threat by increasing costs and limiting innovation.
B2B embedded payments
We were building Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) banking-as-a-service API capability. The idea was to build a set of Payment Capabilities, onboarding capabilities, lending capabilities, and open banking to enable Silicon Valley Bank’s core clientele to transact for their own products.
These companies want seamless integration with their ERPs like Oracle, NetSuite, etc. With an embedded customized UI, FISPAN provides a central integration module for Accounts Payables, Accounts receivables, and real-time transaction history through SVB. The client finds the SVB app in the ERP Marketplace, gets approved, and downloads it into their ERP. The client logs in, finds a batch of payments, selects how to pay, and kicks off approval, which reaches SVB through BaaS APIs. History is available inside their ERP reporting.
B2C embedded payments
The most classic B2C use case is the PayPal checkout experience. The merchant integrates with PayPal’s Checkout APIs to start accepting payments. The buyer clicks the payment button and logs into PayPal, selects the funding instrument, and approves the transaction on PayPal. The buyer is then returned to the site, where you show the payer the confirmation page.
Best practices in embedded payments implementation
- Partner with a very reputable payment service provider, somebody who can bring in the trust and safety required when transacting. This is with the lens of not producing APIs but consuming those APIs.
- Suppose you, as an industry vertical, are trying to embed payments within your experience, whether it’s the mobile experience or the web experience. How do you ensure that payments are regulatory compliant? If there is a mismatch, you must check if it can be customized to suit your requirements.
- Make the payment experience as seamless as possible for your customers. If the customer experience is not frictionless, you will lose the customer.
- Remember that in the world of payments, consumers are very particular about the kinds of payments they like, e.g., Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. So, providing the right set of payment options to your clients is very important.
- Test and optimize the payment experience. It’s not just about integrating and going live; it is also a continuous process of testing and optimizing to ensure everything is taken care of behind the scenes correctly.
- Stay informed of changes in the payments industry. The payments process is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to stay informed of any changes in the industry.
The future of embedded payments is beyond payments. You have to start thinking of other capabilities around value-added payment services, e.g., rewards and loyalty payment.
Embedded payments are an area of API integrations poised to grow rapidly. It offers several benefits, including increased convenience and improved customer experience. It is also important to understand that embedded payments will likely become even more prevalent as technology continues to advance. It will provide new opportunities for businesses to streamline their operations and drive more revenue.