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The market for buy now, pay later (BNPL) is booming. The digital shift of 2020 combined with a surge in consumer interest in better understanding and controlling spending, has pushed BNPL from the edge into the spotlight.

There are a variety of ways to deliver instalment payment options, so unique offerings will be vital going forward as BNPL becomes mainstream. Customers with a preference for BNPL will seek out merchants who offer it and drive new merchants to adopt it.

To fuel continued growth, the ability to buy now, pay later online needs to be widely available, easy to use, reliable and deliver a consistent user experience. One of the best ways to enable this is to provide merchants with pre-built components, often referred to as Software Development Kits (SDKs), that they can easily embed into their own apps.

Accelerating mobile adoption

In 2020, a leading buy now, pay later (BNPL) provider identified an opportunity to accelerate adoption of their offerings. They approached Itty Bitty Apps to deliver an open-source SDK that would allow any company with iOS and Android shopping experiences to easily integrate its checkout option into their app. Previously, merchants needed to develop this functionality themselves, costing money and valuable time.

Having developed native mobile applications for many of Australia’s largest companies, Itty Bitty Apps has had our fair share of experience integrating third party SDKs into apps. It can be a frustrating experience when SDKs are closed-source, poorly documented, distributed through unconventional means or lack support for the latest platform languages and idioms. It was with these factors in mind that we developed this open-source SDK for both iOS and Android.

The SDKs themselves offer pre-built user interface components and logic than can be used to display the checkout widget, badges, payment buttons, colour schemes and price breakdowns. Other aspects of best-practice app development like security and accessibility are also supported.

The benefits of SDKs in app development

SDKs also solve many of the integration problems that each merchant would have to figure out for themselves. This gives a huge leg-up in the most basic cases and a solid foundation to build on for merchants who have more unique integration requirements.

By making the SDKs open source the code is available online for anyone to see, use and contribute to. Merchants integrating the code can be 100% confident they know what it’s doing under the hood and can modify it if required. They can also reach out to the maintainers and ask questions about the code or contribute to it — for example, if they have a bug fix that would benefit the wider community.

Finally, merchants that use the SDK ensure that the checkout experience is consistent not only amongst their own apps, but across the ecosystem of e-commerce apps offering this option. As a benefit, customers are more likely to complete their checkout if the payment process is consistent and familiar.

The ‘designed by a developer’ difference

Leveraging 12 years of app development experience, with many of those building tools for developers, Itty Bitty Apps was able to quickly reconcile our customer’s requirements and deliver SDKs for both iOS and Android over an initial three-month period. We continue to work with our customer to maintain and add new features to the SDKs as their platform evolves.

If you would like to discuss how a mobile SDK might benefit your platform, we’d love to chat.