Kunai Enables Discover to Modernize and Launch New B2BReal-Time Global Payment Platform
Discover Card is a financial services company that offers a range of banking and payment solutions to consumers, small businesses, and commercial clients. The company was founded in 1985 and was the first card to offer a cash back rewards program and is known for its low fees, commitment to excellent customer service, and bank-backed purchases. Discover is headquartered in Riverwoods, Illinois and has offices throughout the United States.
In the past decade, fintech solutions in the B2C space have been met with great success, with the likes of PayPal, Square, and Stripe having risen to positions of great prominence.
However, despite their great success and innovation, fintechs had yet to extend their reach to a particularly difficult nut to crack:
Specifically, Discover had pinpointed a bottleneck that was severely hampering their plans for growth into new markets. Their onboarding, invoicing, and administrative processes for partnering with new suppliers and buyers relied on outdated procedures that required manual intervention at vital touchpoints.
Discover Card found that payments, invoices, and money movement were taking too long to process. This impeded both Discover’s ability to collect payments in a timely manner and their customer’s ability to issue payment methods to employees, send and receive money, and manage their accounts.
To remedy these problems, Discover desired to modernize their existing systems. By automating and transforming legacy processes, they could streamline speed bumps across all vital procedures and cut down significantly on sales cycles, increase customer retention, and enter new markets.
Birthing a Game Changer
Discover decided that their new innovation needed to start with the process. Traditionally, Discover’s merchant partners had been onboarded individually, and each of their payments had been submitted, processed, and approved by a bank representative. This manual invoicing and onboarding process was a significant pain point for Discover and their customers, but was necessary to protect payment data and verify proper payment.
Discover Card decided they could replace the manual review with an automated VCN that could be spontaneously created in the field with pre-programmed conditions and fail-safes. And with DCI support, banks and businesses could receive real-time payments. However, this system would also have to be packaged in a user-friendly portal that could easily onboard adopters.
In 2019, Discover approached Kunai, a design and development firm, to design, build, and help launch the new B2B platform. They would be tasked with creating a fully functional solution that enhanced the management of supplier-buyer onboarding and invoicing, while also introducing dynamic pricing and automated tasks in payment facilitation and approval.
Given their extensive experience within the financial and fintech industries as well as deep familiarity with iOS development, DFN, VCN functionality, and robust fintech API technologies, Kunai was uniquely equipped to quickly develop this platform without compromising quality.
Kunai presented Discover with a multi-part solution: - Workshops and design sprints to fully flesh out the B2B payment solution in just 8 weeks - Build a proof of concept pilot build - Full-scale production and development - Ongoing maintenance and support
Kunai set to work building a clickable demo to illustrate to franchisees how the new product would simplify the buyer/supplier process and automate approval workflow.
UI/UX teams developed a clickable prototype that simulated the digital journeys for: - Onboarding buyer/supplier pricing - Submitting payments - Automatically and conditionally approving payments - Performing end of day settlements
This tool would be showcased to franchisees to explain the ecosystem to internal stakeholders, perform user research, and inform Kunai’s teams on how to build the pilot.
After the demo was designed, Kunai built a working tool that managed onboarding, payment requests, transactions, and approvals alongside key ecosystem partners.
The pilot would serve as an engineering prototype for validation purposes. Running alongside development was also robust product documentation, project reporting, backlog grooming, and frequent roadmap updates.
Kunai then took the pilot insights to develop a full production solution. This build would finalize features, compliance, and info security.
B2B Payment Platform
Kunai designed and built Discover’s new B2B payment solution as per their specifications. The new platform enabled comprehensive onboarding, automated payment processing, and dynamic pricing.
The modernization of the VCN helped Discover with growth in the commercial sector, improved customer sentiment, and increased usability for customers. The solution enhanced the management of supplier/buyer onboarding and invoicing, while also introducing dynamic pricing and automated tasks in payment facilitation/approval.
Feature: The VCN Network
Thanks to Kunai's design and development skills, Discover was able to successfully modernize their VCN with a user-centric mobile application that allowed their business customers to easily generate, manage, and share VCNs in both B2B and B2C markets.
This solution not only helped with growth in the commercial sector and improved customer sentiment, but also increased usability for customers. All of this was achieved through the creation of virtual cards directly in the field.
The new Virtual Card Network would serve as the new middle-man for transactions and money movement. Upon acceptance of a payment or invoice request, the system would generate a new VCN with the invoice data registered within. This would then be routed to the Discover franchise to undergo an automated approval process, after which an interchange file gets submitted to DCI to finalize the transaction.
The new VCN features are as follows: - The cardholder has the authority to edit and add extra credit to the VCN - The Cardholder can top-up the card manually or automatically - The Cardholder retains full control over the spending limit and validity period of each virtual card - The Cardholder can cancel a VCN at any time with full visibility into the purchases made using the VCN
Buyer and Supplier Onboarding
An automated process to register and greenlight buyers with an API call from a Message Gateway which would allow for the buyer to be registered into the system with affiliated meta-data such as name, VCN ID, currency code, country, and contact information.
Similarly, an API call would allow the DCI to register the supplier in the DCI systems with affiliated meta-data such as name, tax id, currency code, country, and contact information. A Message Gateway would then approve the supplier’s MID to register in the system.
Ongoing Maintenance and Support
Since then, Kunai and Discover have worked closely to design, build, and launch additional features as well as regularly maintain the software.
This design was used to sell the solution into a global bank network, and is now being implemented as a fully functional solution. Discover continues to reap the benefits of the added automation and modern design.