Introducing mobile payment for Chinese nationals in the US
The journey to connect Chinese payment service providers to American merchants
User experience design
SynoPay wanted to create a solution to offer American merchants the ability to accept Chinese payment apps. When the company approached More Gold Tech, it needed to build a secure system to process thousands of transactions per day, calculate service fees and allow the flow of sensitive information between the U.S. and China.
There was a lot of complexity involved in this project, including automating manual processes and creating systems that would meet market regulations.
SynoPay (信诺支付) is an Alipay, WeChat Pay and China UnionPay partner in the United States. It provides payment technology, services and equipment to allow North American merchants to sell products and services to over 3 million Chinese travelers and consumers.
By the end of 2017, China was on the path to becoming a cashless society. Mobile payment apps were extremely popular in the country, but the same convenience was not available abroad. Chinese tourists and students in the U.S. had their expenses limited to a foreign exchange quota of $50,000 a year — an amount college students spent mostly in housing and tuition.
Recognizing that Chinese nationals are a powerful economic force — they are the largest spenders worldwide and send more students to America than any other nation — the team at SynoPay identified an opportunity to bring Chinese payment apps like WeChat Pay, Alipay and China UnionPay to the U.S.
With mobile payments, Chinese nationals would be able to use the funds available in their Chinese bank accounts to pay for living expenses abroad. Finally, they would have more purchasing power to afford the lifestyle they want.
Assessing challenges and opportunities
SynoPay reached out to More Gold Tech looking for a way to connect Chinese payment apps to American merchants. Besides point-of-sale integration, they wanted software to manage day-to-day operations.
After studying the mobile payments industry, MGT identified two main priorities:
Automating procedures to reduce transaction processing times and facilitate the calculation of service fees for each transaction.
Building a secure system to allow the exchange of documents between American merchants and Chinese online payment platforms.
Eliminating bureaucracy to generate efficiency
To partner with merchants, SynoPay had to comply with 'know your customer' (KYC) regulations — laws that require banks to verify the authenticity and risks of new clients.
KYC-related procedures were time-consuming and mostly done manually. Sensitive information was often shared through unsafe channels like email, and the whole process to integrate a new merchant could take hours.
After thorough research and a brainstorm session, MGT decided to build a secure repository to make the flow of information between countries easier. This repository needed to be safe, capable of keeping different versions of all files and allow the inspection of documents for up to five years to meet audit requirements.
Through multiple iterations, the team at MGT built a repository that complied with KYC regulations while making the exchange of documents easier. As a result, the merchant-integration process was reduced to 30 minutes.
Automating time-consuming tasks
SynoPay agreed to split service fees with payment service providers and Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs). MGT needed to build a system capable of calculating and splitting the commission fee for each transaction.
This was critical because with thousands of merchants and transactions happening every day, it would be extremely time-consuming to calculate those fees without an automated process.
MGT built a minimum viable product (MVP) and tested its efficiency with SynoPay clients. The final product was refined through multiple iterations to ensure it could meet quality standards.
Changing the game
SynoPay started operating in the U.S., with an expanding presence in Chicago. The company is growing and adding new merchants every day.
MGT continues to work with SynoPay on the second phase of the project, focused on enhancing features for managing transactions and determining sales commissions.