Payments API for the collaborative consumption apps

Intro

We were looking recently for good solution to process payments for our new app communi.st (more on that soon).

Currently there are several really good companies (both in US and Europe markets) that may solve that problem for most apps (especially SaaS):

But we had few very specific requirements:

Payments for marketplaces

If you are trying to build online marketplace there are basically two types of customers:

Online marketplace usually works within following steps:

  1. process payment from buyer
  2. cut procent from transaction as service fee
  3. put money on virtual account of the seller
  4. seller transfers money to his personal account (using e.x. bank wire transfer)

Collaborative consumption apps (think AirBnB) have just one additional step:

  1. process payment from buyer
  2. cut percent from transaction as service fee
  3. hold money on virtual escrow account
  4. put money on virtual account of the seller
  5. seller transfers money to his personal account (using e.x. bank wire transfer)

The only difference is that usually in crowd funding apps sellers will not get money immediately (on AirBnB owner of the place will get money after you move in, but money itself will be locked on your account immediately after reservation).

US vs Europe

Turns out that if your company is based in US there are already few options, but Balanced seems to be the best one. These guys are really amazing. They are building an open company. Read about it.

But if your company is based in Europe options are much more limited.

After some investigation for us we found new promising solution called Mangopay.

Mangopay

Mangopay is product of Leetchi.com and they claim to be

the European leading service for group payments

In general there are two typical types of application that you can built on top of their payments:

And that was exactly what we needed.

Conclusion

We still not using Mangopay API in production, but so far it looks like it will fit our needs. API itself is well-designed and documentation and has good examples.

We even created Clojure library for it.