About Sachin Agarwal

In-house Advisor at TechStars Boston. Formerly at oneforty, still at Dawdle.com, and consultant to more startups than you can shake a stick at.

Roll Your Own Payment Processing

If you’re smart enough to build a web or mobile app, endocrinologist you’re smart enough to roll your own payment processing. I love companies like Fastspring, e-Junkie, and the like, but you should never leave margin on the table. It’s easier than ever to integrate with the credit card processors directly.

If you have an app that has one-time purchases, you should shop for the cheapest merchant account and use whatever gateway is included. The larger providers, such as Chase Paymentech, have their own gateways (in Paymentech’s case, it’s Orbital). The smaller guys generally resell something like Authorize.net‘s offering. The merchant account merely is permission to get credit card sales deposited in your existing merchant account. If you’re doing one-time billing, you have no need to know what credit card was used to buy your product.

If you’re doing a subscription app, you really want to use something like Recurly or Chargify. They handle all the weird exception cases (cancellations, upgrades/downgrades, partial terms, etc.) and both integrate with all the major gateways. Plus, they have their own integrations with the gateways. You just want to make sure that you can change providers without inconveniencing users. I’ve always recommended using TransFS to find a merchant account, and now you can screen by preferred gateway on their platform.

Not only do you need to make something people want, you need to make it easy for people to pay. If you spend the time to roll your own payment processing integration, you can clear thousands of extra dollars a month. It’s totally free money; it’s just up to you to do the work to make it happen.