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Payleven: Development of a Mobile Payment App

PIN-secured credit card payments are entering the mainstream. The Payleven payment service makes cashless payments cheaper and faster, particularly for small businesses. Fast and secure technical developments are the order of the day in this promising market. inovex’s mobile development team delivers important knowledge to the Berlin startup.

payleven Logo

Experts agree that mobile payment data processed using smartphones or tablets is the future. Competition for the various systems is well under way, and a pioneering spirit is dominating the industry, fuelled by predicted growth rates of over 40 percent annually. Predictions for the future of mobile POS technologies – options for making card payments outside fixed installed POS systems – range right through to the complete revolution in global retailing predicted by John Donahoe, eBay’s CEO, in 2013. The German startup Payleven has successfully positioned itself in this young, extremely dynamic market, and was the first company in Europe to launch a secure Chip & PIN solution on the market.

Because the flexible mobile payment system operates entirely without fixed costs, minimum revenue, connections or long-term contracts, it requires no cost-intensive investments in order to accept card payments. Instead, all that is required is a smartphone with Internet access. Payleven actively targets smaller or mobile businesses, but it also caters to the “digital natives“ among business owners – from traders at weekly markets to artisans, taxis, delivery services, galleries, trade show booths, tourist tours and temporary popup restaurants, right through to business owners who simply prefer using their smartphones or tablets to traditional payment terminals. Founded in 2012, Payleven is already active in nine European countries and Brazil.

Pioneering Secure Mobile Card Payments in Europe

Chip & PIN card readers ensure maximum security for mobile payments and are superior to other, signature-based solutions, for example. Customers using such solutions insert their ATM, debit or credit cards into a card reader (a device which is connected to the retailer’s tablet or smartphone) and authorise their payments by entering their PIN numbers. Communication between the mobile device and card reader takes place via Bluetooth. The PCI standards required by the credit card industry specify that PINs must be entered on a separate device to ensure that Payleven’s Chip & PIN methods offer the same level of security as a traditional terminal. Adhering to this standard enabled Payleven to be certified as Europe’s first mobile payment provider of VISA/V-Pay and MasterCard/Maestro (EMV/PCI). PIN-secured credit card payments are leaving behind their traditional niche in major companies (which tend to have stationary POS terminals) and conquering new application areas.

Mobile, Rapid Technical Competence Is Required

From a technical perspective, the challenge for the Payleven founders lay in developing an entirely new application from scratch. Not only did this application have to be secure and particularly easy to operate, but each version also needed to be quickly positioned in its intended market – without compromising quality or the requisite level of security. In order to achieve this, Payleven needed a partner who could tackle complex technical specialised problems quickly and act flexibly, and who had comprehensive experience in developing applications for mobile devices (Android, iOS). inovex GmbH’s mobile payment experts have played a critical role in supporting Payleven’s application development since 2012. For the startup’s Chip & PIN solution, inovex engineers supported the integration, implementation and certification of the application and helped to ensure the successful market launch as Europe’s first solution of its type. inovex developed the link between the Chip & PIN process and the existing Payleven application, and accompanied the application through the various card companies’ certification processes. The successful collaboration between Payleven and inovex dates back to the middle of 2012, when Payleven asked inovex for assistance with an urgent, legacy technology issue. Then, with the planned market launch quickly approaching, inovex developers managed to implement and link Payleven’s requirements in such a way as to ensure reliable, secure operations – and did so in a timely manner. The market launch of the Chip & PIN solution in February 2013 marked an additional significant milestone for Payleven – and for the company’s partnership with inovex.

Apps in the Operating Theatre: inovex’s “Software Clinic”

Frequently, despite professional IT resources, technology-driven companies face problems which cannot – or cannot adequately – be resolved in-house. These issues can quickly become bottlenecks, halting important processes in innovative companies. As in the case of Payleven, inovex supports the IT departments of companies of all sizes in solving complex problems. If necessary, inovex can also take over the implementation of individual, complex development tasks. In such cases, the inovex engineers first hold a kind of “software clinic” to systematically diagnose quality issues and to propose and evaluate solutions. Depending on the customer’s wishes, inovex will pursue the necessary measures until the “patient” – the application in question – can be discharged in “full working order”. Due to the proven experience of its Mobile Development Teams – specifically in the field of native Android implementations and HMTL5 – inovex has become one of Germany’s leading system suppliers. The company is regularly represented in the community by specialist articles and presentations – and inovex’s agile, flexible methods enable its experts to tackle highly specialized projects in a timely manner. This was the case with Payleven’s Chip & PIN solution, which was awarded the Innovationspreis-IT 2014 [the IT Innovation Prize 2014] by the Initiative Mittelstand.


inovex provided significant application development support for the Payleven mobile payment service provider. The successful startup’s app communicates with various card-reading devices to complete payment transactions. inovex’s role involved implementing secure connections to the app, a factor which contributed to Payleven becoming the first European company to launch a Chip & PIN solution for mobile payments.

Key Facts
  • Support for application development
  • Integration and implementation of the Chip & PIN process
  • Certification of the Chip & PIN process
  • Successful Payleven product launch for the Chip & PIN process in 2/2013
Technology Stack
  • Cross-platform / NDK development
  • Development of the payment kernel (for IOS, Android, Windows)
  • Connection of payment terminals via Bluetooth

Get in touch!

Dominik Helleberg

Head of Mobile Development and Smart Devices