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It depends! These 3 key dimensions impact how much time you need to invest.
Every software company is unique. And face-to-face payments are typically much more complex than online payments.
But not all integrations are the same. They can take years. Or they can be completed in a few lines of code. But which
one will apply for you?
At Spoynt we have helped over 100+ teams complete their integrations, so we can help you consider the most
important dimensions of your integration.
Speaking from experience, there are 3 key factors that impact the time you may need in order to complete an integration:
1 . Choice of partner
Your choice of vendor has a considerable impact when it comes to face-to-face payments timelines. Some companies are experienced with and
committed to enabling integrated payments for SaaS. Some specialize in serving other (really important) parts of the market, like standalone
terminals or enterprise merchants. We even see some “Trojan Horse” providers who have their own POS systems, but let some select partners
piggyback on their payments rails (think Square, Clover, etc.) so they can get more payments volume. Some of these are great companies,
but choose carefully.
These other parts of the payments market have distinct needs from most SaaS platforms. Why?
Let’s consider the three other parts of the market and what they are solving for.
You might think that you should choose the provider who is optimized for Enterprise.
They will have amazing logos as customers, and why not trust the one trusted by the best?
When it comes to integrated payments, solutions designed for enterprise merchants may be optimized to have raw payments data routing
through your platform, let you link your payments stream with your on-prem servers, give you integrations with Oracle, or even enable you
to do your own custom terminal certifications. A multi-year integration path with custom capabilities may be the expectation. If you are
Walmart or an airline, this might be exactly what you need.
Not always, but this can be a common offering of a traditional acquirer, supported by some kind of third-party systems integrator
and a dedicated department (or two) inside of your business. This generally can be referred to as fully integrated to the acquirer.
Integration time is measured in “months,” but really can take years and considerable commitments, as well as hard project costs.
Most of the SaaS companies we know are disappointed with this kind of offering. Almost all prefer a method of “semi-integration.” But not all semi-integration is created equal.
Assuming you have successfully decided the above options aren’t right for your platform, how can you compare face-to-face integrations among semi-integrated vendors who are dedicated to SaaS?
A few key criteria:
- Be sure that the vendor has great documentation COMBINED with great integration support, especially if this is your first step from e-commerce into face-to-face payments.
- Consider what bang for your buck you get from that vendor – Can they
This kind of vendor can help shorten both your initial integration time, but also your TOTAL integration time, because you get so much more done with each API you pick up.
2. Your semi-integration method
Not all APIs are the same. There are some genuinely terrible APIs out there. Legacy providers who got into the API game without a dedication to SaaS are notorious for having terrible documentation and terrible APIs.
But even among good APIs, there is variation in how long to estimate for a development project.
How you choose your integration path is dependent on the use case you are solving for combined with your own tech stack.
Ways that you might integrate:
- REST API: This is the easiest and fastest. PLUS it works even for entirely cloud-based software. Note that it requires a terminal with
IP/internet capabilities, so it tends to require more expensive terminals and some sort of network connectivity. But it is perfect for
traditional checkout scenarios with a pc/tablet and a terminal facing the cardholder. You’ll generally be able to run your first transaction
with a few lines of code. But you’ll want to budget days of effort to build out every type of transaction that you need (see below).
- Direct On-Terminal Integration: You may want to put your application on an Android smart terminal (eg, on PAX A920 Pro) to offer an
all-in-one. Perhaps for pay at the table, line busting, in-the-field contractors, in-stadium raffles, or other very mobile use cases.
This type of integration requires that you have an Android application. Assuming you have that, the length of time you need to budget
depends on the “elegance” of the Android SDK that you can use. Look for something that lets you control the experience, stay out of
scope, keep your software up to date, get distribution in the market you want, provide remote support to your terminals, and support
a range of terminals for your use cases. This can be done in days, but can take a couple of weeks.
- mPOS integration to a BT device: This can be a good solution for native applications on phones where the terminal size or cost are the
single most important factor or an IP-enabled terminal cannot be supported. Look for security and the ability to remotely deploy and support
the solutions. And remember in some markets, you’ll need to support PIN even for credit transactions. Of course, BT handling isn’t always
easy and your app will need to do a lot of the message displays. So anticipate a baseline integration done in a couple of days, with more
work depending on how many options you are looking to support.
Wrapping it all up
A face-to-face payments integration doesn’t need to be a hassle or a headache.
Handpoint’s APIs and terminal solutions are freely available on our dev center. Please take a look and
see how we approach making integrations easy to understand and easy to build.
Still, Handpoint understands that even just thinking about undertaking a new integration can be overwhelming
and that you might not know where to start or even how to evaluate your needs.