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How to launch your mobile wallet?

In our previous article covering our guide to mobile wallets, we provided an overview of the different types of wallets and guidance on which one to pick, as well as the requirements and features of the different wallets. Now, we will have a look at how to implement a mobile wallet, what steps are involved and how much time it will take to go to market.
The answer to these questions depends on the partners you work with, your chosen payment network(s), region and current state of digitisation (e.g., whether you are starting from scratch or expanding your existing wallet capability).

Because of the many moving parts, we will take a generic implementation process from the start to give you an idea. 


The players

Throughout the process, you will work with: 

  • The card issuer, i.e., you
  • The payment network / token service provider (TSP): Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, etc.
  • The mobile wallet operator: Apple, Google, Samsung, Garmin, etc.
  • Your issuer processor
  • Your tokenization partner


Phase 1: Analysis and planning

During this, arguably most challenging and impactful part of the project, you will research the available options, define a budget and production schedule, and make decisions on:

  • what type of mobile wallet you want to implement
  • which card scheme
  • which tokenization partner you want to work with

Where your choice of mobile wallet lands depends on the factors discussed above. When it comes to picking the tokenization partner, there are several options out there. Issuer processors or card schemes can give you some recommendations. Some important questions about your tokenization partners and whether they will fit your business model you should ask are:

Can they connect to the card scheme and the mobile wallet of your choice?

  • What is the pricing structure? Are there setup costs? Is there a lock-in period?
  • How much time will it take to implement the solution?
  • Is the solution easy to implement? Are there turnkey options?
  • Do they offer other necessary or useful services such as push provisioning or digital card functionality? 
  • Is their solution cloud native?

Timeframe: If this is your first wallet, depending on the internal and external processes, this phase, you should factor in up to two months. Adding further wallets or card schemes to your portfolio should take a fraction of the time. 


Phase 2: Development and configuration

The development phase consists of building the mobile wallet environment and collaborating with the card scheme(s) of your choice.

Specifically, you will need card scheme onboarding, if this is your first wallet, and exchange keys with both the payment network and the tokenization partner. The development will focus on the implementation of pre-digitisation and token lifecycle management services. The former is a set of processes needed to convert account credentials into tokens, the latter enables the tokens to be generated, suspended, resumed, and deleted.

If you are launching an issuer wallet, we are assuming that you have your mobile app that will support the wallet functionality already in place.

Timeframe: Ca. two to eight weeks for the backend development, four to six weeks for the onboarding and key exchanges (which should be done simultaneously with development to save time), and two to six weeks for continuous testing of the environment setup and integrations. 


Phase 3: User account testing

At this point, you, the tokenization partner, and the card scheme will be involved in testing the connectivity, functionality, and integration of the tokenization platform, to get ready for the production stage and see whether it will hold up to certification standard.

Timeframe: Most of the testing will take two to eight weeks each but can be done simultaneously. The pre-production testing, which relies on the other moving parts being in place, will lag a bit behind and will add around two to four weeks to this phase.


Phase 4: Production

The production phase involves building the final pilot setup, testing the solution outside the sandbox environment and finally the commercial launch. Once everything including push provisioning and the production pilot are in place, and (for OEM wallets) the specific requirements from the OEM wallet’s side are met, a third-party lab will test and certify the solution. After this final milestone, the wallet will be ready to launch.

Timeframe: Around eight weeks.


What’s next?

We hope this series of articles was helpful to you! If you would like the complete guide to mobile wallets with some more detailed information, you can download it for free here