EMV cards might still try to peel customers away from their smartphones and tablets, but it's likely that at some point payment cards will go extinct in favor of banking apps, Apple Pay-like tools and other retail-specific mobile payment apps. Therefore, brands and mobile app developers must capitalize on the payment market sooner rather than later, as the space is becoming crowded quickly and consumers are already making up their minds. However, it's not all good news when it comes to creating and offering mobile payment apps.
Here are four mobile payment app development challenges, and some tips to overcome them.
1. Maintaining Security
Unfortunately, cybercrime and fraud continue to plague the payment industry, and this has instilled fear in consumers, especially when it comes to mobile payments.
"The security of mobile payment apps is the No. 1 concern of mobile devices users."
According to an Inside Secure survey cited by eWEEK, the security of mobile payment apps is the No. 1 concern of mobile devices users, and this is holding them back from fully embracing those tools. While this doesn't mean that brands and developers are introducing apps with security flaws, it is important to note the critical nature of mobile app testing in this regard. Catching a vulnerability or issue in underlying code could save a lot of trouble.
Additionally, Trevor Daughney, executive vice president of Inside Secure USA, told eWEEK that banks and other brands could create marketing messaging that stresses the security features of their apps.
2. Attracting and Retaining Users (a.k.a. Getting Give-star App Store Reviews)
There are a lot of mobile payment apps, but more importantly, the ones that entered the market sooner than others have a leg up. For example, PYMNTS.com reported that in three days, Apple Pay was downloaded over a million times, while other payment apps took months to reach that mark. This means that other banks and brands must work extra hard to get their mobile payment apps into users' hands.
The key here is to launch a highly performing app -- which will ensure great app store reviews -- and support that app through its entire lifecycle. This way, by delivering continuous quality, banks and brands can keep users engaged and apps on devices.
"An app lacking additional capabilities will not rank as high as those that do."
3. Feature Richness
Mobile payment apps now do much more than allow consumers to complete transactions. Brands and banks must offer additional capabilities in order to compete with other apps. Morgan Beard, Strategic Marketing Director at TSYS, told PYMTS.com that mobile payment app users conduct "passive" activities such as checking balances, viewing past transactions, paying bills, transferring funds and much more. An app lacking those capabilities will not rank as high in app stores as those that do, but those functions must also work 100% of the time.
4. Hardware Integration
The different types of mobile devices make mobile payment app development particularly challenging when it comes to integrating hardware features into apps. This is especially hard when every device has its own set of specifications and components.
"Consumers are expecting that their mobile banking experience is going to be better, optimized and tailored to the latest technology," said Ken Hans, executive director of financial services at Blackstone Technology Group, according to American Banker.
This means supporting capabilities such as Touch ID. Gareth Gaston, U.S. Bank's executive vice president of omnichannel banking, told American Banker that consumers are livid due to the company's mobile payment app's lack of support for Touch ID. While Gaston explained that the bank is "running as fast as [it] can to get it up online," users don't have patience to wait.
But what can banks and brands do to ensure this functionality when devices releases are so frequent? They can leverage cloud-based mobile app testing solutions that provide DevTest teams with the newest devices running beta software. It's the best solution to getting hardware integrated into mobile apps as soon as possible.