mobile payment
Mobile payment

By Emmy Gengler

Mobile commerce sales are booming and expected to explode in the coming years. By 2020, mobile commerce sales are forecasted to account for 49 percent of ecommerce or $252 billion, according to a 2015 report by Forrester Research. Compare that to a projected $142 billion in mcommerce sales in 2016 and $115 billion the year before.

For retailers keen on getting a hefty share of this growing mcommerce market, it’s imperative to have a mobile app with a payment system that eager consumers find both easy to use and secure and that also doesn’t give your back office headaches. The question is which system do you choose?

Your decision should be based on three critical issues:

  1. The fees they charge
  2. Their geographic reach and the currencies they support
  3. The quality of their security

But first we need to distinguish what type of products you’re offering and on which platform you’re selling them. If they’re digital—say, videos, e-books, music, streaming media and the like—and you’re using an iOS app, you have to use Apple’s payment system, which takes a 30 percent commission on every purchase your customer makes. If you’re selling tangible goods on iOS, you can integrate with compatible third-party payment systems.

With an Android app, you have more choices, whether you’re selling digital or tangible goods. Because Google Play isn’t as restrictive with apps, you can choose between their payment service and its 30 percent commission or you can integrate with any other Android-compatible payment system.

With that in mind, now you can evaluate the payment system options—and there are many already with more coming. Here are some of the most popular and robust ones:

PayPal: PayPal is simple for consumers to use and a reliable seller option with easy set-up and quick payment.

Fees: PayPal’s commission depends on the nature of transaction, the amount of money that PayPal processes for you each month, and whether your transaction crosses international borders or requires currency conversion. In most cases, PayPal charges 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction. There may be some discounts as volume goes up. There’s no monthly or setup fee but there are some extra service fees for things like chargebacks, card verification transactions, American Express card usage fees, and uncaptured card authorization.

Geographic reach: It’s one of the world’s most widely used payment systems, handling 25 currencies across more than 202 countries.

Security: PayPal has a reputation as the most secure and trusted payment system and doesn’t disclose credit card information online.

Stripe: Like PayPal, Stripe is easy to use and global. However, if fast access to your funds is a priority, keep in mind that Stripe takes a full seven days to send you the money. PayPal usually takes only one business day.

Fees: Stripe charges a flat 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction without any monthly or setup fees as long as you’re doing under $1 million in volume per year. They don’t disclose high volume rates.

Geographic Reach: Stripe supports 139 currencies and operates in 25 countries. You can create charges in any currency and automatically convert the funds for a 2 percent exchange rate fee.

Security: Because the credit card data customers enter into your payment form are never sent to your server, you don’t handle any sensitive data on your end.

Google Wallet: Customers need to have a free Google account and set up is easy, whether they’re on an Android or iOS device. It allows two options: in-app billing (for digital goods) and instant buy for Android (real goods and services) and all purchases are held via MasterCard`s Zero Liability protection system.

Fees: Google Wallet doesn`t charge a fee but it works with the primary payment processors (like Visa and Mastercard) that charge industry-standard fees.

Geographic Reach: Google Wallet is available for merchants in over 160 countries, however using the mobile app for sending and receiving money is available only in the U.S. so far.

Security: The buyer’s credit card number is never exposed to merchants due to a technology called Host Card Emulation (HCE), which functions like a Secure Element chip but lives virtually in the cloud. It comes with 24/7 monitoring and covers all verified unauthorized transactions. is owned by CyberSource, which in its turn is owned by Visa. It also offers 24/7 fraud support and several additional options, like recurring billing, fraud detection, and information management.

Fees: is a little more expensive. It, too, charges sellers 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction but you`ll also have to pay a $25 monthly fee and a $49 setup fee.

Geographic Reach: allows you to accept international transactions from customers worldwide, but there is one caveat: your business must be based in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Europe, or Australia.

Security: This system has fraud detection suite which allows it to identify, manage and prevent suspicious and potentially fraudulent transactions. As part of the Visa brand, it’s one of the most trusted and well-recognized payment gateways for consumers.

Amazon Payments: With Amazon Payments, your customers can log in to your mobile site with their Amazon account credentials and pay for their purchase using the information stored in their Amazon account, simplifying the buying experience.

Fees: Each domestic U.S. transaction costs 2.9 percent plus 30 cents unless you process more than $3,000 per month, in which case you’ll get a discount.

Geographic Reach: Currently only sellers with a bank account in the U.S., U.K., or a  Eurozone country are eligible to receive money through Amazon Payments.

Security: Amazon Payments never records any customer credentials in any database, cookie, or browser session; they just pass them through to the user’s bank to verify the account. Once verified, the credentials are no longer available,  preventing any fraud attacks.

If you’re a merchant, you can’t look at mcommerce numbers and not recognize that you must be in the game if you want your business to grow. One option to make the entry process easier is to work with a software solution provider who is familiar with all the available gateways and can make recommendations as well as help design, develop, and launch a successful app.


Emmy Gengler is CEO of Softjourn, a software services company providing software development and outsourcing solutions since 2001. Softjourn’s clients range from small and medium businesses to global Fortune 1000 companies in the financial services, media and entertainment and ticketing industries.