How to Create an Online Payment Website Like PayPal?

online payment website paypal
Aran Davies
Blockchain Expert | Developer | Writer | Photographer

Interested in knowing how to create an online payment website like PayPal or Stripe?

That’s an excellent market with many opportunities to be explored.

A MarketsandMarkets report estimates that the global digital payment market will reach $180.2 billion by 2026 from $88.1 billion in 2021. The report estimates a 15.4% CAGR during this period.

We are increasingly turning to electronic forms of payments to pay for just about everything. Since all of these demand vendor transaction fees, there is a great deal of money to be made processing digital payments.

How to create an online payment website or app like PayPal?

A software development project to build an online payment website or app like PayPal would involve the following steps:

1. Project Scoping

The project scope statement would include the following:

  • Building a web app, an Android app, and an iOS app;
  • The app should offer the following features:
    • Core online payment features like opening user and merchant accounts, online payment, transaction/balance reporting, etc.;
    • ID verification for users and merchants;
    • CRM features that govern the relationship with merchants through a merchant account;
    • Push notifications.

2. Selecting the right SDLC model to create an online payment website

I recommend that you launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) with the above features, targeting one geography. This would enable you to get real market feedback, and you can subsequently enhance the app.

This calls for iterative development, and agile is the right SDLC model for such projects. You can read about agile in “What is software development life cycle and what you plan for?”.

3. Formulate a development approach

Consider the following approach to develop this app:

  • Use “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) and “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) platforms for developing web and mobile apps, respectively.
  • Implement features like online payment, ID verification, CRM, and push notifications using “Software Development Kits” (SDKs) and “Application Programming Interfaces” (APIs).
  • Utilize “Integrated Development Environments” (IDES) and frameworks to expedite the project.
  • Keep in mind that in the future you will expand to different geographies, therefore, use “app internationalization” best practices. You can read about it in “The ultimate guide to mobile app internationalization”.

4. Build a “scrum team” to create an online payment website or an app

I recommend that you use the “scrum” technique in this project, which is suitable for agile projects. Build a team with the following roles:

  • Business analysts;
  • UI designers;
  • Web developers, with Node.js expertise;
  • Android developers, with experience in Kotlin;
  • iOS developers, with Swift skills;
  • Testers;
  • A project manager (PM).

The PM performs the role of a “scrum master”, and forms small, cross-functional teams called “scrum teams”. The teams work on “sprints”, i.e., iterations in scrum parlance. Read more about scrum in “How to build a scrum development team?”.

5. Sign-up for managed cloud services platforms for the web and mobile app infrastructure

Unlike large enterprises with existing IT infrastructure, start-ups in the online store industry might want to avoid large upfront investment in IT infrastructure. They typically want to get going with the development quickly, and managed cloud services platforms can help here.

As I explained in our guide to top PaaS providers, using a PaaS platform helps in the following ways:

  • The PaaS provider manages the cloud infrastructure, networking, server, storage, middleware, operating system, and runtime environment. A developer can just concentrate on the coding.
  • You can easily integrate databases and 3rd party APIs into your app, with the help of a PaaS platform.
  • DevOps is increasingly important for agile projects, and PaaS providers provide excellent DevOps tools.
  • You would like your app to scale well, and PaaS providers have the right “Application Performance Monitoring” (APM) and auto-scaling solutions for this.

Use AWS Elastic Beanstalk, as AWS has excellent cloud capabilities. What’s more, using the same AWS account, you can also sign-up for AWS Amplify, i.e., the MBaaS offering from AWS. This helps as follows:

  • You don’t need to hire cloud platform architects, infrastructure architects, and mobile backend developers. Managing a mobile backend takes time, however, using an MBaaS can save that time for you. AWS Amplify will manage the infrastructure, persistent storage, etc.
  • AWS Amplify will make implementing features like user management, security, and push notifications easier.
  • Mobile platforms and devices are many, and this adds to the complexity of mobile app development. It becomes easier to manage when you use an MBaaS platform.
  • Integrating 3rd party APIs, and scaling your app are other areas where you benefit from using an MBaaS platform like AWS Amplify.

6. Get an online payment solution

I recommend that you use an API/SDK solution to implement the core online payment features. Braintree, which is from PayPal, provides a robust solution for this, named “Braintree Direct”. This has the following features and advantages:

  • An app built using this solution can accept and process payments online.
  • Merchants will find in your app everything concerning online payment, and they can sell online to their customers.
  • Braintree Direct is compatible with web, Android, and iOS.
  • The solution incorporates industry-standard security features.
  • Braintree Direct has fraud prevention features, moreover, it includes industry-standard encryption solutions. There are advanced fraud-prevention tools, and you can also add “3D secure” to provide additional security.
  • It has a global reach and handles popular payment options including debit card payments and credit card payments from Visa, American Express, and Mastercard, as well as payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Venmo, etc.
  • Braintree Direct is PCI DSS-compliant, and it supports scalability.
  • Recurring billing, account updates, and robust reporting are the other key features.
  • The wide range of integration options available with Braintree Direct makes it easy to include other platforms and applications like billing, analytics, etc.

Your development team can check out the following resources for implementing Braintree Direct:

  • The overall documentation for the Braintree Direct solution is available here. This is a comprehensive repository and covers their Android and iOS SDKs. For the web development part of the project, you can find their JavaScript SDK-related information in this repository.
  • Read this guide for help with development.
  • Braintree Direct also has tutorials to provide further help to programmers.

7. Procure an ID verification solution

An online payment app needs an ID verification solution, to meet the stringent regulations governing financial service institutions. The solution should enable the verification of government-provided ID, moreover, it should handle “Know Your Customer” (KYC) and “Anti Money Laundering” (AML) process compliance.

I recommend that you use ID.me for this, which has a robust solution for the financial services industry. ID.me offers the following features:

  • Your app will have the ability to verify government-provided IDs like driver’s licenses, state IDs, etc.
  • This ID verification can happen online and on a real-time basis.
  • Online account opening will be easier with streamlined KYC/AML compliance.

You can access the ID.me verification APIs and SDKs on their developer portal. Their API documentation is available here.

8. Sign-up for a CRM solution

Now, you will need to conduct the entire gamut of business activities with merchants that open accounts in your app. This calls for a solution providing the entire suite of CRM features. I recommend that you use Zoho here since they have a robust CRM solution.

You can read the features offered by the Zoho CRM here, and you can access the API here. Detailed API documentation is available here.

9. Buy a bulk SMS solution

The app needs push notifications to engage users, therefore, I recommend that you use a bulk SMS solution. You can sign-up with Twilio, for their “Programmable SMS” offering.

They have extensive documentation available here, moreover, you can also read “Messaging services and Copilot” for more guidance. Check out the Twilio pricing plans here.

10. Download and set up IDEs

Now is the time to obtain the development tools, therefore, I recommend that you download and set up the following IDEs:

11. Get a browser and mobile device lab on the cloud for testing

You would want to test your web and mobile apps with a wide variety of browsers and mobile devices, however, that’s not easy with open-source testing frameworks. Experitest has the right solutions for you, as follows:

12. Develop your web app

Now that you have sorted out the platforms, SDKs/APIs, and development tools, it’s time to develop the web app! This involves the following steps:

13. Design the UI for the mobile app

Your UI design team needs to design an appealing and easy-to-use UI, and the following resources can help:

14. Code, test, and deploy the Android app

As the next step, let’s proceed with the Android app development, as follows:

  • Use Kotlin, a powerful, feature-rich language that helps in coding fast and performant apps. Developers benefit from its concise syntax, moreover, Kotlin helps in avoiding common errors like null pointer exceptions.
  • Android Studio supports Kotlin. You can check Kotlin Android development guides for more information.
  • Integrate SDKs/APIs into your code.
  • Use Espresso for testing. Also, use the digital.ai mobile device solution.
  • Read the Android app publishing guide, and submit your app to Google Play. 

15. Developing the iOS app

The development of the iOS app involves the following steps:

  • Code the app using Swift, which helps in creating fast and performant apps. Swift offers powerful features, and the code is easy to read and maintain.
  • Use Xcode for development and XCTest for testing. 
  • Integrate Braintree Direct, ID.me, Twilio, and Zoho CRM SDKs/APIs with your code.
  • Test the app. Submit the iOS app to the Apple App Store.

16. Use effective tools to manage the project

A scrum team has the following key activities:

  • Estimating and prioritizing requirements to plan iterations, which they do in “sprint planning meetings”;
  • Project status tracking, using “daily stand-up meetings”;
  • Sprint approval post-demonstration of the app, in “sprint review meetings”.

You should use an effective PM tool like Asana to manage these activities.

Helpful tips for developing web and mobile payment apps

We offer the following tips for developing online payment apps:

A. Hire developers with in-depth knowledge of online payments

A series of processes must work seamlessly so that a merchant can accept payments online. The online payment method is increasingly popular, however, it involves complexities. You certainly need good coders to develop online payment apps. The developers also need industry domain knowledge.

When interviewing, evaluate whether the developers know the following:

  • How does a payment gateway work?

  • How do payment gateways ensure security when merchants accept payments?

  • Which key processes do payment processors execute?

  • Can payment processors charge transaction fees? What are the regulatory requirements around this?

  • How do payment apps secure payment details?

  • Which processes allow payment apps to connect to merchant accounts, business bank accounts, credit-and-debit cards, and individual bank accounts?

  • How do payment apps support recurring billing and recurring payments?

  • Which factors one should keep in mind while designing online payment forms?

  • How to mask sensitive information like debit cards, customers’ bank accounts, etc. when processing online payment forms?

The above isn’t an exhaustive list, however, you get the point!

Hiring such developers can be hard. However, we at DevTeam.Space have many developers with extensive experience in building apps for making payments online.

B. Review well-known payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.

You should review well-known payment apps like Apple Pay before developing your own payment app. Analyze how the market-leading apps work. Assess how they manage the different processes around accepting payments.

Evaluate other aspects, e.g., how these apps integrate payment processing with major credit cards. Check how they handle direct debit, recurring payments, etc. You can get important ideas by reviewing the market-leading payment apps.

C. Prioritize data security when developing apps for web and mobile payments

Whether you develop a mobile payment app or your payment gateway, you are targeting a highly regulated industry. Customers enter sensitive information when making online payments. Payment processing companies must process them before merchants can accept online payments.

A payment gateway connects multiple stakeholders in this process. These include banks, credit card companies, and merchants accepting payments. As you can see, there are many touchpoints when delivering payment services online.

Cybercriminals routinely target payment portals and apps. They try to make off with sensitive information entered on the payment forms.

You need to build an effective data security and privacy strategy. It should include aspects like encryption, detecting cybersecurity threats, mitigating key application security risks, etc.

You also need programmers that how to develop bug-free payment processes. Cyber-criminals often exploit bugs in programs to attack apps to make and accept payments online. DevTeam.Space can provide you with such developers.

Building an app like PayPal?

A project to create an online payment website or app like PayPal can be complex, despite using platforms, SDKs, APIs, IDEs, and guidelines. You might benefit if you take professional help from a software development company. Read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” before you engage a development partner.

If you are looking for developer expertise then why not take a moment to fill out a DevTeam.Space project specification form to find out what we can do for you.

We have a large community of developers who have expertise in all the tach stacks used today. All of their work is guaranteed by the company to help you avoid the costly pitfalls associated with hiring outsourced developers.

We have already worked alongside numerous business owners to build their payment processing applications. Whether it is for an eCommerce platform or to add a checkout page to an existing app, we have the expertise to ensure you get a secure, streamlined, and reliable payment processing functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions on how to create an online payment website or app

What is the best online payment system?

• Google Pay
• Authorize.Net
• Paypal
• Transferwise

Can I build an online payment system using blockchain?

You will need to start by creating a project plan and then onboarding developers. After you have done this, you can set up the infrastructure and then outline the tasks to be completed. You are now ready to start the ball rolling.

Where to find programmers to create a payment gateway?

You can find developers in the DevTeam.Space community. The platform has lots of experience building payment gateways and other financial solutions.


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