Choosing the right white-label wallet provider 2022
Do not build your fintech from scratch!
So you’ve decided it’s time your business offers a custom-branded wallet. It might be because you want to run loyalty programs at your cafe. Maybe Perhaps you want a central payments system for the local market you run, or maybe you want to build the next Coinbase. There are endless ways that businesses can use wallets.
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the resources to develop their own wallet. Even bigger companies may find it hard to set the resources aside for the task.
The solution: a white-label wallet provider, or a fintech app builder.
White-label providers offer a pre-built wallet solution that can be customized according to your business needs. All the basic infrastructure of the wallet is already there, taking the bulk of the development work off your shoulders.
There’s a catch though: there are many wallet providers out there — and in financial services, you can’t afford to go with a sub-standard provider. How do you pick the right one?
Knowing what to look for goes a long way in helping reach an informed decision. We’ve listed some of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a white-label wallet provider for your business.
One of the first considerations when looking for the right provider is to consider the pricing. The best solutions offer payment structures tailored to the current stage of your business. Are you testing a concept? Are you looking to migrate your existing system? Make sure you’re not forced to pay for features from the start that you simply won’t use. Flexible costing structures allow you to add features as you grow.
It is not a good sign if you are required to pay an upfront bulk fee to get started. Once you’ve found a solution that suits your current budget, it’s important to look ahead. Will this solution still be affordable if you take your projected growth into consideration? Some solutions are affordable at first but can escalate significantly once you start scaling.
f the wallet provider does not offer out-of-the-box integrations with third-party services, it can be an expensive unexpected cost and time delay.
Before committing to a provider, make sure the costs will suit you at every stage of your business. Once you’ve committed to one solution, it can be a real headache to move to a new one because of an unanticipated escalation in costs.
You can’t afford to gamble when it comes to payments — no matter how good it might look on the surface. Your first clue as to the reliability of a wallet provider is their reputation. There are a few things you can do to get insight into the reputation of a provider.
A good place to start is to read reviews or be able to test the product before talking to a salesperson. There is a tendency to be secretive about who you are using as your wallet provider, but if you can get a use case or a good reference on a partner website it is a good sign.
Another indication of the reputation of a provider is to look at the kind of investors that have placed confidence in them. Many wallet providers are in their early stages. Take a look at the kind of investors that are placing their bets on the providers you’re considering. If you see some prominent names on the investor list, it’s a clue that you’re dealing with a company with a good reputation.
Your users will want to access your app on a variety of devices. It’s important that your wallet is available on all devices and major operating systems. That means it needs to be compatible with web, responsive web, iOS and Android. Also keep in mind that some users want to save on the data they use, especially in third-world contexts, so keeping the app size below 100 MB is recommended. Popular apps like Venmo and Cash App are over 300 MB and 200 MB respectively.
It is a great sign if the provider can provide a report on a recent device or browser-specific tests.
Your vendor needs to have experience and capabilities to enable integrations with your current banking or custody partners if it is not offered out of the box. There are typically two integration models for cash-in/out:
- 1-to-1 integrations — This refers to doing an integration where each account on the treasury account maps to a duplicate account on the wallet system.
- Many-to-1 integrations — This refers to an integration where a single treasury account maps to all the accounts on the wallet system.
You will also need to do integrations with other providers such as KYC/AML, accounting and reporting tools.
Extension, plugin or add on marketplace
No matter how flexible a white-label solution may be, there will always be unique features that are not part of the standard offering. If you anticipate the need to add custom features, it’s worth looking for a provider that allows your in-house developers to customize the frontend application codebase or to build directly on their API.
Some providers have extended the possible functionality of their wallet apps by creating an extension marketplace where third-party developers can offer custom extensions. Think WordPress — the website building platform allows third-parties to create plugins that add endless possibilities for the developers. An extension marketplace could mean that you don’t have to be limited to the out-of-the-box features of a white-label wallet. This is a powerful way to give you even more scope to develop an app that suits your business needs without needing to do the heavy lifting.
Beyond value-added features, extensions are also used for integrations with key service providers to do KYC, cash-in/out, reporting and accounting.
It is a minimum requirement that your wallet provider has good quality and up-to-date developer documentation.
In addition to developer docs, it is also very useful if there are interactive tools to test the APIs. A browsable API makes it easy for developers to test and view the exact response data. Important sections to consider in the developer docs are Authorizations, Error handling, Pagination, Filters, Idempotency, Deprecation timeline and Changelogs.
Software license and codebase access
There are multiple software license types that tend to vary between providers. Let’s start by clarifying why you might want access to the codebase in the first place:
- Do you want to make customizations to the apps on the codebase level?
- Are you concerned about a potential service shutdown or acquisition?
- Are you looking to increase your valuation by acquiring the codebase?
- Is it a requirement of your investors?
The big distinction between codebase types is backend and frontend. Providers like Rehive typically offer a white-label software license for the frontend code to make it easy for developers to customize the end user interface, while not having to worry about hosting the core backend infrastructure. The backend is typically offered as software-as-a-service taking care of hosting, scaling, uptime and security behind the scenes. It is important that the backend is easy to build on top of via a well-documented API. This combination of proprietary backend services and licensed frontend codebases are similar to how Shopify works.
Some providers might open source the software or sell the software once off without providing hosting services.
It might sound attractive to buy the backend and frontend codebase at the beginning. It is natural to want to own the software. Don’t underestimate the overhead of doing your own hosting and maintenance. If you can start with a software-as-a-service, it can help cut costs and grow your business in a sustainable way.
If you do decide to build on top of the codebase directly, whether it is the frontend or backend stack, you need to make sure the project is well structured, thoroughly documented and following best practices such as automated tests, migration scripts, version control and release notes.
It is not always possible to do a codebase audit in advance — most providers don’t accommodate this. The main reason is that a lot of intellectual property is exposed in the event of sharing the codebase details. It is a great sign if there is a refund clause within two or three months if you realize the codebase quality is not what you expected.
Some apps offer the ability to customize your wallet app without needing any coding. Just like WordPress, Shopify, Wix and other site builders made it easy for non-developers to build websites with drag-and-drop features and a simple user-friendly dashboard, some wallet providers enable users to customize their apps quickly and easily.
You will likely need to customize currencies, accounts, transaction types, groups, permissions, fees, limits, controls, and notifications along the way. Being able to do it yourself is a major advantage. Some apps might even allow you to easily change the menu, labels, layouts and branding without any coding!
Does the vendor offer support in testing integrations with your and your users’ banking systems? Do they offer training to take full advantage of the functionality they offer? It’s important to know that your wallet provider has dedicated support to oversee the integration of the software with your existing systems.
Security is one of the main concerns people have in using financial technology. But what makes a service “secure”? There are many facets to digital security in the fintech space. It helps to know what to ask when enquiring about the security of a wallet provider goes a long way in gaining peace of mind about your and your customers’ security. Here are a few key questions to ask a potential wallet provider:
- What features do you have to secure end user accounts?
- Do you support multi-factor authorization?
- Do you support biometric authentication?
- Can users set a custom pin?
- How do you mitigate development risk?
- How do you deal with credential management?
- What SQL injection protection do you have?
- How do you handle cross-site request (CSRF) forgery?
- Have you done any third-party security audits?
Accounting integrations and reporting
With the resources required to create a mobile wallet, it’s important to know whether or not you are making money on your platform. The kind of reporting built into a wallet solution is crucial to gain such insight. You want to be able to get a real-time view on whether you’re making money, losing money, and, most importantly, whether funds in the wallet system match the funds in their treasury accounts. Being able to compare current data with historic data is also important for strategic decision-making. Take a look at the reporting functionality and the filters, exports, and visualizations available through which to analyze your current and historical data.
We’d all prefer it if we didn’t need technical support. But let’s face it — it’s inevitable. When (not if) you face a technical issue, you want to be sure that you’ll receive excellent support as quickly as possible.
Good technical support provides clients with structured answers to questions, opportunities to ask questions, and the option to escalate an issue to a call with a qualified person if necessary. Some wallet providers offer dedicated support at an additional monthly fee. Whatever the case, make sure you’ll get the highest level of support.
Design and features
What do your users want in a wallet app? Beyond merely thinking about the back-end features of a wallet provider, thinking about what your users will expect should be an important part of your decision-making process. It’s important that your white-label wallet provider offers the kind of features that are on par with inddustry trends and will delight your users.
The popular features to look out for are peer-to-peer payments, payment requests, invoice payments, scan to pay, point of sale payments, in-app purchases for delivery or in-store pick-up, mass payouts via a CSV file, currency conversions, and rewards. Above all, it is very important that the app has a seamless user onboarding process with proper communication channels via emails, SMS, or push notifications for all the various steps in the app.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when choosing a white-label wallet provider. Taking your time in choosing your provider will serve you well in the longer term. Ideally, you want to find a provider that will work for you both in the short term and long term.
You can find more information here: