Maksekeskus is the leading company in the Baltic States that offers payment solutions for e-businesses, whose clients can accept bank and card payments in their online shops, offer the increasingly popular buy now, pay later (BNPL) solution in addition to a range of other valuable services. The services of Maksekeskus have made it easy and convenient to receive payments from customers and arrange deliveries. In this way, the company has contributed to the expansion of e-merchant businesses in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and also in Finland.
The cooperation of Finestmedia with Maksekeskus had already begun in 2012. The Finestmedia team came up with the idea to create a platform offering payment solutions as a start-up project and started to implement the project in cooperation with Inbank and Omniva. While success stories of innovative business ideas being implemented tend to reach the public after people leave their current jobs, Finestmedia encourages self-development within the company. Once again, Finestmedia’s entire development and business analysis resources were involved in the plan to create the new platform with financial benefits for both the authors of the idea as well as the organizations that contributed to its implementation, which undoubtedly ensured a greater chance of success for the idea. As of today, almost 4,000 online shops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, from hobby merchants to large retail chains, have joined Maksekeskus. The rapid development of e-commerce is steadily increasing the number of merchants joining the platform, and the volume of transactions is also growing strongly in line with the company’s financial performance.
In 2021, Maksekeskus decided to launch Kniks, a gift card solution that would act as a payment instrument in all online shops using the service of Maksekeskus. Experience to date has shown that many e-merchants are keen to offer a gift card solution, but may not have the time, financial resources or skills to develop their own programme. In addition to the development costs, merchants also have to invest time and money in the management of the gift card scheme – issuing the cards, keeping account of them, marketing, etc. Another objective was to address the issue of many gift cards remaining unused. The number of unused gift cards can be up to a third – for example, a plastic card is not at hand at the right moment or using it requires a trip to the store. More often, however, customers don’t find anything of interest in the store that issued the gift card and ends up forgetting that it exists.
Maksekeskus set the following conditions for the new gift card solution:
- joining Kniks must be as simple and automatic as possible for merchants – there is no application or extensive development process to offer gift cards as a payment option to customers.
- The gift card must be a valid and secure means of payment in all online shops using the Maksekeskus platform in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
- Using it must be intuitive and convenient for the end user.
- Kniks is electronic, but it must be possible to personalize the card and give it respectfully as a gift.
- It must be possible for the customer to use the full balance of the gift card with one or more purchases and for refunds, if necessary.
- Managing and keeping account of Kniks must be easy for Maksekeskus.
- Its creation and launch must not disrupt the functioning of Maksekeskus.
Progress of Work
The development of the solution required an in-depth approach, as although payment methods are usually integrated on the Maksekeskus platform, it was time for a new payment instrument – new functionality that merchants could start using as a turnkey solution.
The Finestmedia development team implemented the project in the following phases:
- Business analysis – the functionalities that the new solution should have, the data that must flow in the system and ways of making it as convenient as possible for the customer were mapped in cooperation with Maksekeskus. Also, how the gift card money will be stored in Maksekeskus.
- Technical design – it was determined which of the developments could be used to add the expected functionality to the platform, the special cases that should be covered by the solution and how to ensure the solution’s security and sufficient performance.
- Development and adaptation of the existing system – the process of building the new system also necessitated identifying the existing modules and developments that must be updated to ensure that the gift card functionality would work properly.
- Test period – the developed solution went live to test that all functions and interfaces were working. The test period identified some new areas for improvement before the gift card programme could be publicly launched.
- The public launch of the solution took place in November, in order to be ready for the Christmas season and the first major holidays of 2022.
As a result of the project, Maksekeskus launched the Kniks gift card in November 2021, which can be offered as a means of payment by all online shops using the services of Maksekeskus. Gift cards can be
sent with personalized messages and designed with different anniversaries in mind.
The created solution keeps account of how much of the card value has been used and keeps the balance on the account of Maksekeskus. The gift card can be used in online shops to pay for the entire purchase or as an additional payment method – for example, to pay a part of the amount with the gift card and the rest by any other payment method.
The biggest victories of the project are:
- the team succeeded in launching the versatile Kniks gift card solution for the peak gift buying season.
- The development, testing and launch of the new solution did not cause any disruptions in the functionality of the Maksekeskus service.
- The Kniks programme has been actively used by merchants, and many e-merchants specifically contact Maksekeskus to have their online shop listed on the Kniks website.
- The launch of the Kniks gift card programme has increased both the profile of Maksekeskus as an organization and interest in working for the company.