13 Steps to Build a Payment App like PayPal From Scratch

Online payment systems are extremely popular nowadays. People love the possibility to purchase goods and services online and pay for them with two clicks of a mouse.

And no online payment system is as popular as PayPal, one of the pioneers of this market. Numerous enterprises choose PayPal to conduct their financial transactions. Therefore, we might safely assume that PayPal got what it takes to succeed in the online payment industry.

Is it possible today to walk their steps, create an app like PayPal, and achieve success? In this article, we’re going to take a look at the steps one would need to take to build a successful online payment app from scratch.

But first, let’s review the factors that make creating your payment app a great idea.

Why would you want to build an online payment application?

The simple answer is because the time is right.

More and more people show interest in using online payments, and their number is increasing at a swift rate. As stated in the Digital Payments Report by Statista, the total value of online payment transactions made through a digital payments network will grow by 15.2 percent in the US by 2025, which reflects the growing rate of acceptance of online payment systems.

Millennials are eagerly getting into the online payment world, and technological advances like near-field communication make that easier.

As you can see, the market is growing, and possibilities for success are limitless there. So, what are the steps needed to create a successful PayPal-like online payment platform?

Steps for creating a PayPal-like online payment application

Here’s a rough list of the necessary steps for any beginner in payment app development.

1. Scope the future product

Define how big your project will be, considering multiple versions for various platforms (iOS, Android). Determine its core features: opening accounts, making payments, sending reports, etc.

2. Choose the life cycle model

At first, you might want to launch a model with certain geography in mind, and not include all desired features, limiting yourself to ones forming the core. You can expand the application with time.

3. Define the strategy for your project’s development

Are you planning a web or mobile application? This choice will decide if you need Platform-as-a-service or Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service. At this stage, it might be a good idea to plan to implement key features and their appropriate APIs.

4. Form a scrum task team

The scrum approach seems the most appropriate for such projects. Within its framework you can make a team consisting of the following specialists:

  • Project manager
  • Business analysts
  • Web developers
  • iOS & Android developers
  • UI designers
  • Testers

5. Provide a cloud platform

You can, of course, spend a lot of financial resources, creating your own infrastructure, however, purchasing a cloud platform access seems a much more viable choice to begin with. Everything is online, ready, and running.

6. Decide on the online payment solution

PayPal-like applications will require an SDK/API solution to process online payments. Usually, such solutions are made with in-built multiplatform compatibility.

7. Provide ID verification measures

Any financial activity must be compliant with requirements made by governing institutions. To comply, you’d require a KYC and AML-compatible solution that verifies IDs.

8. Establish CRM software

When your payment application is developed, a good CRM software would be required to integrate your product with various business processes and applications, a digital banking app, for example.

9. Purchase a notifications solution

Providing push notifications is a great way to engage the app’s potential users. An SMS solution that supports sending continuous notifications would be a good choice.

10. Actual development

After all the tools and resources for your future app are there, you can get to the development process itself.

11. Create a user interface

To be successful, your application will require a simple and clear interface. Your audience should also be able to navigate it fast and find it visually appealing. Selecting a color scheme and icons might seem insignificant in comparison to more technical aspects of development, but they are just as important.

12. Coding, testing, and deployment: Android version

To hasten the process of development, you can use certain coding languages, such as Kotlin. Ensure that SDKs and APIs are integrated seamlessly, then get to testing and deploying your application on Google Store.

13. Coding, testing, and deployment: IOs version

To create powerful and smooth applications for iOS, you can use enhanced coding languages like Swift. Do not forget to test your application on multiple devices before the final deployment.

Ok, we got through the main steps of payment app development; but what essential features would you want from apps like PayPal? Let’s make a short list:

  • Digital wallet
  • Push notifications
  • Support of multiple currencies and automatic conversion
  • Funds transferring
  • Payment tracking & history
  • Unique ID/OTP
  • Bills/invoices
  • Secure networks

So, how much would the development of such an application cost?

Cost estimates for an online payment application development

There are a lot of factors defining the final development cost for an online payment system application. Some of the most important include:

  • Desired features
  • Third-party software integrations
  • Development team rates
  • Team composition

As a rough estimate, the development applications for both iOS and Android will cost you somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000. Of course, this number can vary a lot depending on additional features.

Some final thoughts on the matter

The financial industry welcomes new apps for online payment with open arms. Getting in right now would be a great decision for any ambitious enterprise with a strong foundation and vision of its future product.

As with any business beginning, good planning is key. Get your plan together, learn the market, and success will surely follow.

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