How to build a Super-app

Our Thinking

Posted on January 7, 2022
How to build a Super-app
In order to establish yourself as a super-app in the age of embedded finance, you’ve got to take advantage of what embedded finance is facilitating.
OpenPayd Editorial Team
OpenPayd Editorial Team
January 7, 2022

What is a Super-app? It’s an app that delivers multiple services, including financial services, that help users manage different aspects of their life within a single hub.

Do you remember the first apps you ever had? They were most likely gimmicky stuff like games, weather forecasts and stock tickers. Designers and developers were seeing what information or entertainment we could display on our phones.

Then, they became more focused. You had multiple apps for pretty much any service you could think of and businesses began launching their own to boost their sales and have a direct way to ping their customers whenever they wanted to.

Since that point, the world of apps has been nothing short of dog-eat-dog. While over 80 apps are installed on the average phone, only 30 are used monthly and just nine are used each week. Nine. There are over 1.85 million apps in existence today, and if you want yours to be used regularly, you need to be in the top nine.

So how do you do it? Many of the most successful apps have realised one service is no longer enough. The more services they can combine with their initial offering, the fewer apps a user has to contend with. The app starts to move from the top 80 to the top 30, and then from the top 30 to that golden circle of nine. This is the rise of the super-app.

What do super-apps look like?

The first super-apps originated in Asia. WeChat began as a humble Chinese messaging service. Then it introduced WePay. It’s move into payments has been such a success that cash has all but disappeared in parts of China. AliPay, Alibaba’s payment offering, has become a leader in online payments, with over 1 billion users.

Now, European financial services are following the same path. Revolut began as a way to spend money overseas without having to withdraw lots of physical cash and or be stung by high conversion rates. It is now a financial hub in which all of a user’s bank accounts can be managed, with investment opportunities just one click away and cryptocurrency trading also available.

eToro began as an online brokerage business offering basic FX. It then began to integrate stock trading, cryptocurrency trading, and now offers banking services with eMoney accounts. It also allows users to connect with each other and communicate as with a social platform, enabling them to discuss trading strategies and learn from different portfolios.

How to become a super-app

We understand why businesses are becoming superapps, and what exactly those superapps look like. There is an obvious next question: how? How does a business make this step between useful app to everyday feature of a person’s life?

Traditionally, firms would need to build a lot of this financial functionality themselves, which would include becoming regulated as a financial institution. This approach has high barriers as the process takes a long time and requires a lot of specialist staffing. Alternatively, businesses could partner with various providers, but trying to make different systems operate together smoothly was a nightmare for tech and operations teams.

With embedded finance, this has become a whole lot easier. Businesses can partner with a single embedded finance provider and fully integrate whichever financial services they wish directly into their offering. If they decide they’d like to offer bank accounts, loan services, insurance, investment opportunities or any other financial service, it can be offered within their app. The service can be fully whitelabeled, so at no point is the user required to leave the app or presented with another brand.

Exactly what this looks like is up to you. If you’re an online retailer, you may want to introduce a buy-now-pay-later scheme, which is a form of embedded lending. This drastically improves sales conversion while keeping the entire flow under your control. You may go even further, offering a bank account which rewards users with money off after reaching certain spending milestones. The app therefore becomes more than just a way to shop, it’s a smarter, more cost-effective way to shop, and you become the first choice when a user is looking to make a purchase.

In order to establish yourself as a super-app in the age of embedded finance, you’ve got to take advantage of what embedded finance is facilitating. Adding as many financial services as you can just for the sake of it isn’t the right approach, but being aware of opportunities and acting upon them quickly will differentiate you from competitors.

This is exactly how embedded financial services have been designed: services can be integrated quickly and seamlessly via API. Your developers don’t need to be constantly building out new features or creating infrastructure – all the financial and compliance aspects are handled for you, so your team can focus on growing your business.

The most exciting thing about super-apps is they do not require millions in investment or thousands of employees – any app can become a super-app. Embedded finance is allowing any app to add financial services to their offering in a cost-effective, easy-to-implement way, meaning that super-apps will achieve success based on the strength of their product, not the size of their budget.

If your business is ready to take the step to ‘super’ power, talk to OpenPayd, and we’ll help you get there.