That cause célèbre has many champions, not the least of whom are developers who see a technology-infused future capable of eliminating the frictions that interfere with how people and firms do business.
The desire to speed up innovation burns most brightly in payments as entrepreneurs and their development teams see a veritable grab bag of friction-filled opportunities ready for them to tackle at the intersections of new technology, data, mobile, digital and the cloud.
There’s just one small problem: Making leaps in payments technology looks deceptively easy, but the payments space is among the most challenging. It is complex, nuanced and interdependent — and very hard to understand.
That knowledge gap is an issue that Visa, in collaboration with PYMNTS.com, set out to address.
Welcome to Payology — the developer’s “crash course” in payments, produced and taught by PYMNTS together with a team of experts, including successful entrepreneurs, seasoned executives and those who invest in innovation.
“Ultimately, it’s developers who have to go back and pull the code and do the work to make the idea that was discussed in the meeting actually happen,” Visa Director Ilkay Can told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster in a recent chat about the launch of Payology. “And we want to make sure they have all the information that they need at their fingertips to get started.”
Why Do Developers Need A Crash Course In Payments?
Developers know a lot about code and a lot about how to harness its power, along with a lot of clever ways to build it into consumer-facing applications. They even have some expertise in what consumers want — because, when they aren’t developers, they’re consumers.
But that 360-degree view often works against them when they move into the wild world of developing for payments and commerce, because their experiences as consumers really don’t prepare them for the mysterious world in the back end of the payments ecosystem.
“One of the things that developers often misunderstand is the scale and scope of the industry itself,” said Sean Newton, Visa Senior Product Director, who works on the technology team within Visa Developer. “They are very familiar with using payments instruments — they definitely know how to swipe a card. But the details of the back end and how the four-party model actually works — they quickly learn that what they thought was as easy as swiping a card is, in fact, not.”
The power of Payology is twofold. One, it makes the building process — the actual iterations themselves — much smoother, because, instead of just giving developers and partners a set of tools, Payology provides a context in which to use those tools.
And, as Webster suggests, giving developers that context opens their minds to new possibilities and use cases where there are true frictions to solve and how to think creatively about leveraging the existing infrastructure to do that.
Payology’s four modules provide a multimedia and interactive experience for developers.
Each of the four modules tells the story:
- in pictures — a visually engaging set of slides;
- in words — a few pages of easy-to-understand prose; and
- via module mentors — video stories from developers and innovators themselves who provide an “under-the-hood” look at a particular topic within each of the modules.
Module Two digs into who makes money and how, providing fresh insight into the complicated business model that is payments and some of the clever new ways that money can be made.
Module Three tells the story of how to make payments happen at the point of sale — physical or digital — as well as the regulations that keep payments innovators from running afoul of many rules and regulations that make for a sound payments ecosystem.
Module Four lays the groundwork for some of the use cases that are transforming payments beyond “business as usual” and how technology and clever thinking can unlock new value for people and businesses.
“I hope that Payology helps developers understand there are many areas where they can think creatively and practically about adding new value to our industry,” Webster noted.
“Payments has moved from ‘box to check’ when accepting digital payments to a strategic driver of sales. Making that leap requires a solid understanding of how payments works and how to leverage what exists to add value to people and businesses.”
Innovation is not easy to accelerate, but it is possible if one can create the right conditions with education and efficiency. That, Newton noted, is why Payology is such an important initiative for Visa Developer.
“Payology is just more evidence of Visa’s commitment to being at the forefront of accelerating innovation.”