A car computer of a modern car, presenting digital content and e-commerce options

Why Self-Built Automotive Payment Tech Will Make You Outrun Competitors

The future of automotive will not care how fast your car can go. Or how snappy it can look. Instead, innovation will centre around what a car can do. As a manufacturer, you already witness the shift towards connected vehicles, with high-end telematics and web-enabled computers under the hood. Those cars can communicate with external e-commerce applications and service platforms. And that brings technical challenges. One of the most pressing for car manufacturers: Providing a solid automotive payment system to handle all in-car commercial activities. 

One may be tempted to turn to the obvious choice: Turn-key payment software by 3rd parties. But once you scale up, the problem of such an approach will, too. And off-the-shelf solutions begin to show their drawbacks. 

The alternative would be to choose the payment orchestration model and build up your very own payment infrastructure together with a business and/or a software partner ideally with many years of experience in the payment domain. This article will help you answer the following questions:

  • Which use cases require connected car payments?
  • What are the advantages of custom-built payment solutions over standard 3rd-party  payment systems?
  • How will you benefit from payment orchestration realized with the help of a technology partner?

Let’s go for the answers! 

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A computer besides a wallet, symbolizing payment gateways, online payment and ewallets

E-Wallets or Payment Gateways – A Comparison

When we compare e-wallets or payment gateways to payment with card or cash, we often evaluate the former as more convenient. That might be a bit of an overstatement, really. Holding your credit card in front of a card reader does not exactly sound like much work, does it?

No, what really makes modern digital payment methods so powerful is their feature-richness and flexibility. For example, you can simply conduct cross-border payments or transfer tiny amounts of money with digital payment methods. And even if you are bound to our own four walls (for some reason), you can pay for goods and commodities with just a few clicks. 

But payment does not equal payment. Behind the scenes of your checkout page, in the technical profundities of the software, it makes a huge difference whether the payment happens via an e-wallet balance or a digital bank or credit card transfer, facilitated by a payment gateway. 

Payment Gateways vs. E-Wallets? Not Quite!

However, make no mistake and don’t take “Payment gateways or e-wallets” literally. The two are not exact opposites: You need PGs to process a transaction no matter what. The real question is: How exactly does using e-wallets vs. regular payment providers influence the payment process, especially regarding user experience? 

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A robot hand holding a vintage ladies' wallet, representing electronic wallets or e-wallets, respectively

What Is An E-Wallet – Definitions and Technical Distinctions

E-wallets are software programs which securely store data. This data is needed to enable the wallet owner to conduct payments online or at points-of-sale. And they do so by use of a specific device.  

That’s as close to an encompassing definition of e-wallets, or electronic wallets respectively, as we will probably get. But it’s also just the surface of what electronic wallets – sometimes also called digital wallets or (obsoletely) cyberwallets – can do. Over the last decade, e-wallet technology has found application to a variety of use cases. This article will cast a light on the term E-wallet, especially in the context of online payments. In the following paragraphs you’ll find: 

  • Definitions of certain types of e-wallets 
  • An overview of their common functionalities 
  • A breakdown of e-wallet-based payment 
  • An outlook on their role in the future of payments and e-commerce
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Two hands with medical gloves handing over a banknote, representing fintech during the corona year of 2020

How 2020 Changed the Fintech Industry – Trends and Developments

What a year… good thing, we have a new one in replacement. 

Last December, when putting together our annual industry recap articles (you can find some of them here if you are in for nostalgia), we could not have guessed that the fintech scene would be on the brink of profound change. Many predictions, fintech and banking experts had made for 2020, did not occur – or did not occur for the reasons that we assumed would provoke them. 

Everything considered, though, the financial industry got off cheaply in 2020, when compared to other industries. Some branches could even step up their game. 

The question now is, if the fintech trends of 2020 will continue in 2021 or if they will “return to form”, once the restrictions in worldwide trade, business and retail loosen again. A look in the rear-view mirror will give us some implications. 

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A banknote forming a roof over a tiny toy house, representing the niche banking industry.

Niche Banks – The Overlooked Financial Player

Imagine a bank. Now, what does it look like to you? 

We assume that most of you reading this would picture it as a building. Perhaps with a sleek, dark blueish glass front. Perhaps with towering pillars reminiscent of classic empires. Definitely with ATMs and clerks giving out cash, taken from underground vaults.

But let’s be honest here: Nothing of that represents modern banking services. Since the introduction of online banking and smartphones, banking is no longer confined to a physical place such as a bank building. And without the need of such branch offices, offering payment and banking services became an attractive option for companies outside of the traditional banking industry. 

In recent years, we have already seen a wave of new players that offer basic banking services. Those new banking players benefit greatly from the web-centric customer habits of today, if they capitalize on them. That’s especially the case with BigTech corporations and platform economy firms, who are pushing into the market. 

But aside from these financial giants, there is still room for smaller, more focussed financial institutions. Some cater to the general, tech-savvy customer, others occupy a specific niche that larger financial houses don’t address as purposefully. But what do those niche banks look like and what will be their role in banking in the future? 

We start with the basics. 

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Bogdan Dinu, Head of Product at Thunes and interview partner in this cross-border payments talk.

Finquiry #2: Bogdan Dinu on Cross-Border Payments

Since the dawn of the Internet age, global economies have grown closer – as did the underlying financial systems. Today, we can digitally purchase a product with materials from Eastern Europe, produced in Singapore, refined and branded for sale in Canada, and eventually shipped to Brazil. All countries involved in this supply chain have to maintain financial relationships and this also necessitates numerous cross-border payments.

However, that’s easier said than done. Complying to all regulations, security processes and technical requirements necessary to move funds from one country to the other comes with high efforts and costs for service providers.

For our fintech interview series “Finquiry”, we have asked cross-border payments expert Bogdan Dinu to break down what goes behind facilitating effective and low-cost transfers.

Our Guest: Bogdan Dinu, Head of Product at Thunes

Our interview partner Bogdan Dinu is the perfect expert to lead us through the dense jungle of the cross-border payments landscape. As the Head of Product in leading global payments network Thunes, he is set to support the business through its next phase of global expansion. 

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A computer mouse resting on a bundle of euro banknotes, representing electronic money or e-money, respectively

What Is E-Money – Definitions, Processes, Challenges

E-money, short for Electronic Money, is the electronic alternative to cash. Since it started as a concept in the 1980s and rose to prominence during the Dot-Com era, it has acted as one of the biggest game-changers in the financial industry. In a matter of only four years, from 2014 to 2018, the number of electronic money transactions in Europe alone doubled to more than 4 billion. 

This aspiring form of money deserves our attention. To provide a starting point, this article will give an overview of: 

  • The definition of e-money as a whole
  • The subtle distinctions in its applications
  • The process of electronic payment with e-money
  • The potential downsides of e-money
  • And finally, e-money licencing and who should apply for such a license  

Let’s start!

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A home office workplace, representing remote work in the software development business

Remote Working at Software Companies: Best Practices

Bear with us here: We will say a positive thing about 2020. That’s hard enough. But due to lockdowns and reduced mobility, one certain work philosophy has gained attention in the economic discourse: Remote work at the home office.

Now companies big and small are adjusting their work policies. They allow their employees to work from home and telecommute with their colleagues. Among them are many software and digital service companies who are used to their coder lounges or office cubes.

But remote work is here to stay: Just recently, the Center of European Economic Research (ZEW) conducted a study according to which 75% of big and 64% medium-sized companies want to permanently give their teams the option to operate from home office spaces. 

So, you will have to deal with remote work in the future – perhaps even include it into your working routines. But will you deal with exactly? And what are best practices to pull the home office challenge off at your software company?

First, the basics!

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A software developer working on coding a payment gateway

How to Develop a Payment Gateway

Online marketplaces are complex systems. That’s true all the more when you decide to equip them with a custom payment gateway you developed (and there are many good reasons why you should do so). 

As a development company, offering CoreWallet, a software foundation for payment and ewallet applications, we are familiar with the complexity of creating payment gateways.  It’s important to approach the development process with a clear plan. To help you master the technical challenges, we have compiled the common stages of such a payment gateway project for you. And we’ve also collected a few best practices. 

So, let’s walk the walk. Let’s build a payment gateway. 

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Two businessmen lining out a payment gateway for their online marketplace and other platforms of the platform economy.

Empowering the Platform Economy

aye4fin Managing Partner Thomas Tittelbach, presenting 5 important topics when creating payment gateways on a business level.
Thomas Tittelbach, Managing Partner at aye4fin gives you a detailed overview of how to approach building a payment gateway from a business perspective.

E-commerce is a growing market – but it’s not taking place entirely within single online shops. By far not. Online marketplace environments have cemented their presence all over the web, be they specialized in dealing with certain types of goods or all-in-one digital warehouses. In addition to retail, service platforms and even comparison portals have found their niches as well. In short: We live in the age of the platform economy – driven by smooth-flowing online payment solutions.

Yet sometimes the last part is more wishful thinking than reality. Payment processing requires a payment gateway designed for the specific transaction flows, which occur in marketplaces. And if you want to design such a well-functioning solution yourself, you can turn it into a business case on its own.

Of course, there are things to keep in mind, from a business perspective. In this second part of our Article Series on Payment Gateway Building, we give you an overview of those. Here are five topics to consider when building payment gateways for marketplace platforms.

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