13 Sep

Mastering PSP integrations: Key learnings from our experience

Hello, I'm Mathi, a Solution Architect at Payrails with extensive experience in dealing with payment-related topics. My focus is working together with our merchants to help them solve complex payment problems and scale their solutions by leveraging Payrails’ capabilities. My journey in this domain began when I built the payments and fraud prevention platforms from scratch for PedidosYa, the largest quick commerce business in Latin America. This experience was instrumental in shaping my expertise. Later, I took my skills to the global stage by joining the Delivery Hero HQ in Berlin, where I continued to innovate in the payments sector. Over the course of my career, I've successfully built and overseen more than 100 integrations. While many of these projects were rewarding, some presented challenges that could easily be described as nightmare-provoking.

I understand that integrating with payment service providers (PSPs) might seem challenging to some. Questions often arise like "Why is aligning with PSP systems so complex?" or "What makes estimating timelines for these integrations challenging?" As someone deeply involved in this field, I'll help unravel these complexities.

The process of PSP integration goes beyond merely connecting two API endpoints, as there's a depth of understanding and strategic planning involved. In this article, I'll provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies and strategies required for successful PSP integrations based on my experiences and insights.

Best practices for a successful PSP integration journey

Adopting a flexible workflow

The first step to effectively handling PSP integrations is to adopt a flexible work methodology. Given the dynamic nature of such integrations, it's crucial to have a workflow that can swiftly adapt to unexpected roadblocks and easily switch contexts without losing track. In my experience, methodologies like Kanban have proven to be helpful, but it's essential to choose a system that works best for your specific team.

Balancing team engagement

When tackling integrations, a balanced team engagement approach can make a significant difference. It may not be productive to have all developers focus on a single integration, as it can hinder the team's velocity in the event of sudden issues. On the other hand, limiting each integration to a single individual can risk creating knowledge silos. An effective solution can be splitting your team into pairs, which fosters knowledge sharing and improves communication.

Planning for PSP timelines

A key aspect to remember when collaborating with PSPs is their independent operational timelines. Regardless of your planned schedules, PSPs might require unexpected maintenance, or critical features could require adjustments. Sometimes, seemingly simple tasks, like issuing a new set of credentials, can take several weeks. Recognizing this aspect will help you move away from rigid deadlines and towards a more adaptive planning approach.

Addressing overlooked aspects: chargebacks and webhooks

In the rush of integration, some aspects, like handling chargebacks and webhooks, might get pushed to the back burner. However, these are essential elements that need careful and early consideration to ensure they are handled correctly without last-minute pressure. These steps are important to ensure that you not only cover the most basic flows but also capture potential edge cases in your solution. Additionally, implementing automated post-authorization operations like refunds and cancellations ensures your solution is scalable and future-proof. 

Understanding your business perspective

Choosing a PSP shouldn’t solely be based on the attractiveness of their API or documentation. It’s crucial to approach this decision with a comprehensive understanding of your business’s needs. A well-liked PSP among engineers might not be the best fit if it is costly or unavailable in a crucial market for your business.

Engaging in business decisions

As technical professionals, we can provide valuable insight into the feasibility and implications of business decisions. Therefore, it's beneficial to be involved in such discussions to spot potential engineering red flags early.

Considering the user experience

When designing a payment system, it’s essential to keep the end user in mind. Ask yourself, "Would I enjoy using this checkout experience?" For instance, no one wants to fill out 40 fields just to order a pizza. This perspective can guide the development of a user-friendly payment interface.

Navigating PSP product offerings

Every PSP comes with a unique array of products and integrations. While considering these offerings, it's key to choose wisely to avoid being so tied in that altering the system becomes difficult later.

Keeping product teams informed

With varying integrations come different timelines. To avoid confusion, ensure that your product team is aware of these differences, which can help them make informed decisions and set realistic expectations.

Conveying issues effectively

In case of any issues with the PSP, approaching them with concrete data and factual evidence can be more effective than vague complaints. This helps to highlight the problem clearly, reducing the chances of your concerns being dismissed.

Our approach to streamlined PSP integrations

PSP integrations can be complex and time-consuming. Our proprietary Payment OS at Payrails is purpose-built to manage the intricacies of these integrations, each with aspects unique to individual PSPs. By providing a unified layer that interfaces with various PSPs, Payrails simplifies the integration process, significantly reduces maintenance complexity, and accelerates the go-to-market timeline.

If you're preparing for a new PSP integration and could use some guidance, we're here to help. We're ready to assist you in discussing potential challenges and preparing for successful PSP integration.


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