Talk to Your Developers! Square Insists They’re Key

Bailey Reutzel

Developers, according to Square Developer Lead Carl Perry, are the most important community for many payment facilitators.

It’s not something payment facilitators hear very much, but developers are a core part of the business, and payment facilitators need to make the building of payment solutions streamlined for this group.

And this is especially important as payments and all the features around payments become more complex. With increasing consumer payment options, such as NFC, EMV and bitcoin, and multichannel strategies for acceptance, developers have a challenge to build solutions that keep up with buyers’ quickly changing demands of payments whenever, wherever.

“Building an app for payments, for commerce, should be as easy as swiping a credit card, not as hard as what Square had to build,” Perry said, keynoting at the third annual Payment Facilitator Day at the ETA’s TRANSACT conference.

Plus, developers have to keep in mind that about 40% of all in-store purchase are web influenced, Perry said. “Being able to track that lifestyle and the buyer’s journey is super important for developers,” he said. “Building [apps] across phone, mobile, watch, in-store, kiosks … it’s extremely difficult for them to consider how to build these things.”

With all that, the payment facilitator’s job is to “remove the muck” around payments and commerce so developers can build end-to-end solutions that “wow” quickly, Perry said. And that starts with thinking about how to solve for the other commerce problems outside of payments, because, he said, likening payments to the sand in the oyster, “the pearl doesn’t exist without everything else around it.”

From easy integration processes to multichannel ability to handling PCI compliance burdens so developers don’t have to, these are the areas payment facilitators should either build themselves or partner for to offer the best experience for developers.

And to do that, “you should talk to developers every single day,” he continued.

Talking to developers has led Square to some interesting finds as well. In one survey, Square found that developers wanted better customer support, and not just answering questions via a phone or email support line, but also other avenues for getting questions answered quickly, such as blog posts and social media accounts.

Developers also want to offload compliance and security, so payment facilitators need to make sure that ability is offered by themselves or a partner organization. Having a system that allows developers to skip loads of compliance paperwork will make a payment facilitator’s product stickier.

Developers “don’t think about this when they are first building an app, especially if they’re new to payments,” Perry said. “But it’s a huge thing.”

And, Perry continued, reliability is key.

“You need to have the highest uptime possible through building in offline mode and redundancies…and you need to be responsive and reliable in failures,” he said. The latter, because failures will happen, and it’s important for the payment facilitator to be transparent when these things happen.

Again, Perry said, having a good relationship with the developer community is one of the best ways payment facilitators can continue innovating to keep their place in the market.

“If you don’t wake up everyday and aren’t worried and scared and passionate about developer solutions … not just about the APIs and the service you expose to developers but how developers are going to use them,” you’re doing it wrong, Perry concluded.