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Tech insights: How to assess new tech in a build day: Exploring the latest payments API
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How to assess new tech in a build day: Exploring the latest payments API

11 March 2024, by Dan Davey

Payments. We all make them, receive them, occasionally forget about them, and frequently stress about them. As a developer and an all-round tech enthusiast, I decided to explore how to make them easier for customers with the new WigWag API. You can check out my demo here.

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When building B2C products, integrating payments is often a necessity to enable customers to pay for products or services. Having worked with various payment gateways, most recently SnapScan and Yoco, I’ve observed that the South African payments landscape seems a bit behind the global curve, but it’s encouraging to see local companies beginning to innovate.

One such innovator is the fintech startup WigWag, which has developed a payments platform that significantly simplifies the process for small to medium-sized enterprises — a crucial step for maintaining and growing business cash flow. They offer a simple API, which is promising for the future of the market. Recently, Make.dev hosted a build day, where I explored how developers might utilize this API to facilitate one-off and subscription payments. Here are the steps I follow to quickly assess new technology:

  1. Pick a simple use case to build
  2. Keep an eye on scope creep
  3. De-risk your build at the start
  4. Time box you build
  5. Be extra careful when it comes to payments tech
  6. Think about the potential of the tech beyond your build

1. Pick a simple use case to build

I’m a big believer in project-based learning. To assess a piece of technology, I typically select a small use case and build it out as quickly as possible. It’s not wise to embark on a large, risky client project with technology you don’t understand.

I familiarised myself with WigWag by creating a proof of concept in the form of an online bakery store named DoughDrop. Here are the main features I built out:

  • Users can purchase individual baked goods or subscribe to a weekly box of products. All transactions are managed by the WigWag API which makes things much easier.
  • On your DoughDrop profile, you can add your card details and connect with WigWag, leveraging the card consent API.
  • WigWag also offers a subscriptions API, which I used to facilitate subscription to a weekly box of products, and triggers regular payments. Integrating this took just a couple of lines of code, making it incredibly user-friendly.
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2. Keep an eye on scope creep

I always make sure to keep an eye on scope creep, focusing solely on the essential features to avoid committing too much time. Constantly questioning whether a feature is necessary or just a nice-to-have helps prevent getting caught up in unnecessary details. Given more time to build DoughDrop, I might have added product reviews, and I’m curious about exploring delivery fees and their implementation.

3. De-risk your build at the start

For me, de-risking projects at the start is a must. In software development, there are many unknown unknowns. I did some de-risking at the outset by reading through the API documentation, identifying the parts that would be difficult, and tackling those first.

4. Time box your build

People often underestimate the time required, so I always aim to minimize that uncertainty as much as possible. A good way to go about it is to time box your build. The entire DoughDrop build was completed in a day, with just an hour needed to connect the WigWag API.

5. Be extra careful when it comes to payments tech

Being cautious with payment-related technologies is crucial. Firstly, you want to handle as little user authentication and management as possible, so choose a payments API that takes care of compliance stuff. Secondly, it’s important to vet the developers behind the API since you’re entrusting them with your clients’ data. In this case, WigWag is powered by Stitch, which manages all the data and performs tokenization.

6. Think about the potential of the tech beyond your build

Considering additional applications of the technology during your assessment is valuable, as it helps you make connections and understand how to use the technology for future projects. For instance, beyond straightforward e-commerce, I see the potential for using WigWag in an app designed for bill splitting among housemates. It could also be beneficial for content creators, enabling supporters to set up automatic payments for new content releases.

Dan Davey is a software developer and all-round tech enthusiast, wielding technology to optimise human wellbeing. He is currently interested in AI/human collaboration, specifically in wellbeing and creativity.

Learn more about WigWag

  • Check out the demo for DoughDrop here
  • Take a look at the WigWag API here

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