There’s a fortune to be made in mobile in-app billing. In-app purchases accounted for 43 percent of mobile app revenues in 2017, according to Statista, and in-app revenues are set to reach $117.2 million in 2020, up from $40.5 billion in 2015.
With cash like that at stake, it’s no wonder that Square wants a cut of the action. The San Francisco company today announced Square In-App Payments SDK, a suite of tools for iOS, Android, and Flutter that allows developers and sellers to accept payments within their own apps. It’s available today in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Japan.
Carl Perry, developer lead at Square, pointed out that now, businesses can use Square’s platform to accept payments in every major channel: brick-and-mortar, online, and on mobile.
“With the introduction of in-app mobile payments to the Square platform, developers now have a complete, omnichannel payments solution for all their payment needs,” Perry said. “From software to hardware to services, Square offers a complete payments experience all in one cohesive open platform. Even better, developers and sellers can manage all their payments across in-store, mobile, and online all in one place.”
According to Square, adding in-app payments support to a mobile app requires no more than a few lines of code. Contained within the SDK is an onboarding flow that guides customers through the payments process, instructing them first to add payment methods — e.g., debit cards, credit cards, or digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay — and then to choose how they’d like to pay. They also get an option to save payment methods for future purchases.
As for developers, they have the freedom to update individual elements to match an app’s style. Or they can customize the look and feel from top to bottom, if they so choose.
PepperHQ — a developer of mobile ordering and loyalty apps for restaurants, cafes, and other hospitality businesses — was an early adopter of Square’s In-App Payments SDK. Because it already used Square to integrate ordering and payment into merchants’ systems and operations, its decision to adopt the dev kit meant its merchant clients could use the same payments provider in-app and in-store.
Bushfire, an online event registration and ticketing vendor and another willing In-App Payments SDK guinea pig, integrated the kit into its mobile apps to allow customers to reserve seats at local events. Conversion saw an uptick of 20 percent after it did, Jorin Slaybaugh, technology lead at Brushfire, said.
“Square’s in-app payments SDK was painless and easy to use,” he said. “We loved it from a technical standpoint: It allowed us to do something that was literally impossible for us to before, and we were able to do it easier than ever. That’s all that matters to developers.”
The debut of Square’s In-Apps Payments SDK was preceded by the broad launch of Square Appointments, its reservation scheduling platform. Square integrated Appointments with Instagram and Google services in December 2018.
Earlier in 2018, Square rolled out firmware improvements to its Square Contactless and Chip Reader, which cut processing time for card transactions from 3.6 seconds to 2 seconds. And in April, Square acquired Weebly, a web-hosting service and web design platform, and Zesty, a catering platform. Square at the time that said both Zesty and Entrees On-Trays, which it snapped up in January, would be used to bolster its Caviar food delivery business.