Payments company Braintree released a mobile marketplace API today to support the sharing economy.
Braintree powers online and mobile credit card transaction for e-commerce vendors. Its payment platform makes issuing and accepting online payments more accessible than before, when payment processing required extensive infrastructure and resources to set up. Braintree has many high profile clients that operate marketplaces, such as AirBnB, Fab, TaskRabbit, Poshmark, and Uber, and saw a high demand for a product that would simplify how they do commerce.
Braintree’s head of sales James Hyde said that marketplaces present unique challenges when it comes to payment processing. While Braintree had an established solution for accepting front-end payments, clients were asking for technology that extended to the seller side of the marketplace as well and smoothed the flow of money between both sides.
“We wanted to bring a full mobile solution for marketplaces from beginning to end,” Hyde said in an interview with VentureBeat. “A lot of clients were coming to us and looking for solutions to satisfy this need. We can now handle things even marketplaces themselves tend to forget. There is nothing like this out there today.”
Sharing economy startups have become a major part of the technology ecosystem. These companies operate peer-to-peer marketplaces where people can make use of their un or under-used assets. You can stay in someone’s home on AirBnB, sell your clothes on Poshmark, and find someone to do your errands on TaskRabbit. A significant portion (and in some cases, all) of the commerce happens through mobile devices. As these marketplaces grow and new ones continue to emerge, there is a need for payment systems designed for their unique requirements.
The goal of Braintree’s new product is to remove as much friction as possible from marketplace transactions. Sellers can enter their bank account information on-the-go for the receipt of payments without having to go to multiple sites. Marketplace operators can customize their payout system for each individual transaction, split payments between providers, and give sellers the ability to control when and how the funds are dispersed. Marketplace sets up flexible escrow options and has tools for keeping track of compliance and tax issues. Sellers can receive payments directly on their mobile devices, so operators doesn’t handle the money. This basically means the middlemen don’t have to deal with the nitty gritty financial aspects of the marketplace.
Payments is a competitive space and Braintree goes head-to-head with PayPal and Stripe, as well as newer companies like Balanced, to gain dominance. With the marketplace solution, Braintree aims to capture this corner of the market. Stripe launched a comparable product in June, but Hyde, of course, said Braintrees is better. TaskRabbit is the first company to adopt this product.