Hi <<First name>>!
Marketplace payments are about as complicated as online payments can get. At the same time, facilitating transactions is the core value your platform offers, and payments are a significant part of that.
Sharetribe Flex exists to help you deliver on your value proposition and offer your user the best possible transaction experience. This year, we've added functionality that brings an important improvement to Flex. You can now integrate your Flex-powered marketplace with any third-party payment service provider.
Why build a new payment integration
There are many steps in the marketplace payment flow that make the process complicated from both technical and legal perspectives.
First, your customers want to check out easily with the payment method they prefer. Different methods require vastly different processes. Then, the customer’s payment needs to be split into your marketplace commission (if that’s your revenue model) and the payout your provider gets. You probably want to delay paying the provider until they’ve delivered what the customer bought — a process that is subject to all kinds of regulatory and technical challenges. Finally, paying the provider requires going through a Know Your Customer process to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.
Sharetribe Flex solves these challenges for you by offering a built-in payment system powered by Stripe Connect. Your customers can pay with all major credit or debit cards and several other payment methods. Your providers are automatically onboarded using a Know Your Customer process. You can split the payment, automatically send the provider's portion to their bank account and your commission to yours, and delay the payout until the goods or services have been received. All without worrying about legal and regulatory compliance.
But Stripe has its limitations. The most important one is that it can only support platforms and providers located in around 40 countries. If your providers are in a country not supported by Stripe, you can't send money to them with Stripe. Your customers can’t use payment methods that aren’t supported by Stripe, like PayPal or various local payment methods.
In these situations, you might want to consider custom-building an integration to the payment service provider of your choice. That could mean a local solution operating only in your country, or a global solution like PayPal Commerce Platform.
How to build a new payment integration with Flex
Flex has been built to make third-party integrations as easy as possible. In the case of online payments, integrations will always require a significant time investment. Each payment service provider has its own integration process. You need to learn the specifics of your payment service provider’s API and build the middleware software that handles the communication between that solution and Flex.
This guide offers an overview of the steps required to complete such an integration and the things you should consider before and during the integration process.
If you'd like to get help with estimating the cost of such an integration, or if you'd like to find a reliable developer to build it for you, let us know by responding to this email. We're happy to connect you to an experienced Flex development partner who can help you out.