Two people with VR goggles, representing interactions with the metaverse and its payment systems

How FinTechs and BigTechs Bring Payment to the Metaverse

Photo of Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement
trimplement co-founder Natallia Martchouk takes us on a trip through the thrilling prospects of payments in the metaverse.

The Metaverse has been one of the hottest topics in business and tech in the last few months. Is this only a buzzword and a hype or does it have a real longer-term potential to become the “next big thing”? You can find supporters for both opinions. However, a lot of big consultancy companies believe that there is no way to fail for the Metaverse.

For example, according to CB Insights “the metaverse could represent a $1T market by the end of the decade”. Deloitte has published a white paper about the potential of the Metaverse and they believe in even higher numbers: “The metaverse may become a paradigm shift for consumer and enterprise behavior, analogous to the introduction of smartphones. It could create a potentially massive new market, with recent estimates of the commercial opportunity as high as $13 trillion and five billion regular users by 2030.” Accenture has launched the Accenture Metaverse Continuum business group to help their clients to understand and make use of the Metaverse opportunities. Its head Paul Daugherty stated that “The next generation of the internet is unfolding and will drive a new wave of digital transformation far greater than what we’ve seen to date, transforming the way we all live and work”.

I’m also rather on the optimistic side of supporters believing that Metaverse is not the hype but a next step in the technological, social and economical development of mankind. 

However, before we analyze the current development status and prospects of the Metaverse, paying special attention to the payment topics, let’s review what “Metaverse” actually means and how it is different from “Web 3.0”.

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A picture displaying a watch and coins, symbolizing buy now pay later payments

How to Build Your Own BNPL Solution

What’s a good way to yield top money on your e-commerce or service platform nowadays? It’s to have your customers not pay you immediately. Thus, Buy Now, Pay Later has become the fastest-growing segment in consumer finance. Shoppers want to have it. Merchants want them to have it. And BNPL providers like Klarna (B2C), Afterpay (B2C) or Biller (B2B) are eager to provide it. But what exactly makes Buy Now, Pay Later so popular? And should your business strive for its own BNPL solution?

In this article, we detail… 

  • What the core advantages of Buy Now, Pay Later are
  • What the 3 major challenges are, when you build your own Buy Now Pay Later solution
  • How to overcome those challenges with the CoreWallet framework 

Now, to question 1…

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A credit card used for payment on an online platform

How Online Card-Based Payments Function

On today’s online platforms, we face an extensive choice of (digital) payment methods, some of them fairly non-traditional (like blockchain-based payments), some having been around for a while (like credit card, direct debit, vouchers and gift codes). In some countries, payment methods that bridge the online and offline spheres of web shopping remain popular, too, such as cash-on-delivery. In others, BNPL and e-wallet-based payment flows are popular. This article will take a deep look into one specific form of online payment, though:

Card-Based Online Payments

These include all manners of payment cards such as Credit Cards, Debit Cards and Prepaid Cards. They may exist in purely digital form or have a physical equivalent. In any case, local banks issue the cards and they operate on the rails of international or domestic Payment Card Schemes.

In the following paragraphs, we will focus on credit card-based payment systems, presenting their basic flows and involved parties (like issuer, acquirer and so on). This article will examine in detail:

And go! 

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A picture of a Moritz Königsbüscher, providing insights into the topic of Payment Analytics

Finquiry #4: Moritz Königsbüscher on Payment Analytics 

Over the last decades, online commerce has become increasingly data-driven. Companies monitor search engine metrics, measure user behavior on their pages or ask customers for their feedback in digital forms. 

One branch of data evaluation for e-commerce and service platforms, that promises valuable insights, is Payment Analytics. But it’s also a challenge to set up a functioning environment and make sense of one’s findings. 

In our fintech interview series “Finquiry”, payment expert Moritz Königsbüscher addresses the topic and shares best practices. 

Our Guest: Moritz Königsbüscher, Freelance Payment Consultant

Moritz Königsbüscher has examined payments from almost all angles. He worked in payments and product management roles in companies both on the payment service provider side and the merchant side (e.g. Arvato, Xing, SoundCloud, RiskIdent). Working as a freelance payments consultant for banks, startups and corporations of varied industries, Moritz recently launched the PreAuth Academy, a service specializing in online payments training. 

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A woman interacting with a virtual reality, symbolizing the post-platform payment world

Payments in the Platform Economy – What’s Next?

Photo of Natallia Martchouk, co-founder of trimplement
trimplement co-founder Natallia Martchouk knows what comes next for payments in the platform economy.

If you live in a developed country in the modern world you probably do your shopping on Amazon, connect with your friends on Facebook, book your apartment for holidays via Airbnb, order a pizza at Delivery Hero and call an Uber car if you don’t want to drive yourself. 

Each one of these companies is an example of a digital platform business and all together they build a so-called “platform economy”. 

There are many definitions of what a “platform” is. In the broader meaning, a platform can be any kind of online sales, transaction or technological framework allowing people to connect for any kind of economic, technological or social interaction. Some sources differ between “online matchmaking” and “innovation” platforms, some mention more types of platforms, for example, “innovation platforms” (like Apple iOS or Google Android), “transaction platforms” (like Airbnb, Etsy), “integration platforms” (combining capabilities of innovation and transaction platforms) and “investment platforms” (like Priceline or OpenTable).  There is no unique approach in the classification of the platforms. 

In the context of this article, we will look at the digital matchmaking platforms (also called transaction platforms) in the first place, like the above-mentioned Amazon, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Etsy or eBay. The goal of these businesses is to give their users the opportunity to find a service, worker, resource or product that is best fitting to their needs with the lowest possible transaction costs. We will have a special focus on how those platforms are doing the payment processing part for their customers as we believe that frictionless payment is one of the key success factors for online matchmaking providers. And the most interesting challenge would be to try predicting how the payment experience may look in the next stage of economic development, in the so-called post-platform world.

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A desk with calendars, symbolizing 2021 and its fintech industry developments

The Fintech Year of 2021 – An Industry Recap

Writing a 2021 recap of fintech has been a tough call. No misunderstandings here: A lot has happened in the industry. But we have gotten so used to the future of payments being both digital and mobile (and some would throw a decentralized in there, too). Long familiar talking points continue rotating in the press: 

  • Embedded Finance keeps breaking through.
  • BigTech companies still follow their payment ambitions. 
  • Invisible payments in mobile and online payment remain attractive for customers. 
  • Embracing Open Banking is significant for all financial players. 
  • The promises of Artificial Intelligence await around the corner. 

So what is to write, when we can expect all of this to define the financial industry in the next years? Well, the devil will be in the details: How will those factors play out on the level of specific target groups, use cases or nations? How is the fintech industry holding up as a whole? And what happened in the crypto sphere? 

You see, there still is a lot we can talk about… 

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A shopping card to which a banknote is attached via paperclip, symbolizing Embedded Finance

Embedded Finance – What It Means (For Banks and Tech Firms)

Traditional banking houses no longer hold the monopoly on offering financial services. Instead, companies whose core business initially laid outside the financial sphere have adopted what’s called Embedded Finance. This means that they offer financial services as add-ons and parts of the regular user journey on their platforms. 

Originally, financial services were embedded in online shopping or service platforms. Yet companies in other application areas adopt this practice, too. Thus, nowadays we arrive at a big list of different finance-embedding enterprises including: 

  • E-Tailers
  • Online marketplaces
  • Comparison portals
  • BigTech companies
  • Logistic and transportation firms
  • Car manufacturers
  • Social media giants
  • And many more…

What all these diverse companies have in common is their aptitude for digitization. They already deliver on the tech front, mostly; the fin just has to follow. And even as most such companies only started to develop their financial service (or finserv) portfolio, they have vital advantages over competitors:

  • A widely known branding that many customers are familiar with from their everyday purchases.
  • A streamlined user journey, into which the financial services can be embedded easily.
  • An affinity towards innovation and digital transformation – many of them have already shaken up their own areas of operation and are well known for it. 

This mixture allows those new finserv players to quickly scale and activate a broad customer base when compared to cold-starting fintech companies. 

But what is Embedded Finance exactly? And should banks or fintech companies care? 

Examination underway… 

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A hand holding a smartphone over a point-of-sale device, symbolizing the choice of a Payment Service Provider

Payment Service Providers: How to Find One For Your Business

Let’s spill the beans: You are in the e-commerce business for profit. Not solely for the profit perhaps. But it’s clear that you want to make money. And that means you must figure out how to get paid for the goods and services you offer online. The “how” is crucial: The choice of the Payment Service Provider you want to trust with processing your transactions with customers will resonate in every nook and cranny of your day-to-day operations. If payment doesn’t work, you won’t sell anything.  

That’s true all the more if you are operating in multiple countries or across borders – preferences in Payment Service Providers (also called PSPs, Payment Solution Providers and sometimes Merchant Service Providers) fluctuate among nations and demographics. 

Here’s the good thing: Whatever your business requires, there will be a Payment Service Provider with the right capabilities. That friendly online encyclopedia counts around 900 different Payment Service Providers worldwide, 300 of which cater to Europe and North America. 

Now, you can see why the good thing is the bad thing at the same time. With so many options, how could you track down the best Payment Service Provider – the one that fits your business model and your market? 

That’s the challenge this article is here to help you with. In the following paragraphs we will provide: 

  • A short definition of Payment Service Providers
  • A compilation of decision points and criteria, which will help you determine what kind of payment your business needs
  • A plan B to fall back on when none of the options offered by a single Payment Service Provider appeals to you. 

Let’s see if we can narrow down your options. 

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A picture of the "chance" square on a Monopoly board, symbolizing the opportunities of re-built payment systems

Why You Should Change Your Legacy Payment System

You have a big problem with your payment system. 

At least that’s why we suppose you read this article. 

Maybe your business just started, but the payment system you integrated already struggles to meet customer expectations. Or you run an established platform, but your legacy system has grown into an inflexible and costly monolith of different providers.

If you work with a particular provider like PayPal or have integrated a variety of individual acquirers or PSPs, you cannot excess full control over your payment. For example, feature updates, security or transaction limits and fees lie outside your agency. 

However, perhaps your transaction system runs just fine, it is functional and flexible. But have you utilized its full potential yet? Have you thought about adding e-money wallet functionalities to enable P2P transactions, loyalty point systems or quick refunds? 

Whatever of the above is the case, this article is for you. It will discuss how you can turn your legacy system into a version that better suits your needs. By finding a proper payment solution provider and adding payment orchestration and e-wallet functionalities, you will be able to take back control. 

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An assemblage of violins, symbolizing payment orchestration

What Is Payment Orchestration (And Why Have It)?

Payment Orchestration describes the process of integrating and handling different payment service providers, acquirers and banks on a single, unified software layer. The Payment Orchestration software executes the complete payment processing, from validation to routing to settlement. 

The Payment Orchestration Layer / POL (or Payment Orchestration Platform / POP, respectively) bundles user and merchant accounts, acquirers, payment providers, fraud detection services, etc. to initiate, validate, route and process transactions involving those parties. In addition, it handles payment processes such as reconciliation, billing and settlement, payouts and reporting. 

Thus, a Payment Orchestration Layer acts as the entry point and core of a payment system. This approach differs tremendously from separately integrated PSPs. E-commerce platforms and online service providers don’t need to integrate every PSP and every acquirer separately. Instead, they can consume the unified API of the payment orchestration layer, benefiting from a reduced integration complexity. Moreover, a POL simplifies the maintenance and further development of the system for platform owners and for merchants. In the same vein, it eases the interaction with 3rd party service providers.

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