Keap Built its Own Integrated Payments Processor Using WePay


The installed base grew 60% month over month for the first 6 months, with more than 2,500 businesses signing up and processing more than $7 million monthly.



Executive Summary

Keap helps small businesses scale their sales and marketing and accelerate growth. The company serves more than 33,000 businesses, and is an 8-time Inc. 500|5000 honoree. However, Keap's 3rd party processors created friction and made it more difficult to build the product features it wanted. They turned to WePay to create its own deeply integrated payments product, Keap Payments, complete with advanced features like mobile payments. Keap Payments quickly became the No. 1 payment processor choice for new users — more new users sign up for Keap payments than the other 12 payment processing options combined.

"Keap Payments is a big step forward for Keap. For the first time, we’re able to offer payments that are tightly integrated into everything we do."

Clate Mask, CEO, Keap

The Challenge

Like many platforms serving small businesses, Keap initially took a hands-off approach to payments. Rather than offer its own integrated payments solution, it allowed users to connect their existing merchant accounts through a number of payment gateways and processor integrations. When a user didn’t have a merchant account, it had a referral agreement in place with a merchant services provider which could provide one after a lengthy underwriting process.With payments handled by this simple system, the team at Keap was able to focus on building new features and expanding its user base.

This mass of processors created challenges for Keap:

  • Consistency of service: Not every payment provider had the same level of service, complicating support and leading to user confusion.
  • Multi-system chaos: One of the main benefits Keap offers to its customers is its simplicity. Before consolidating marketing, sales, and e-commerce into a single offering, they had to maintain different software for every workflow.
  • Sign-up conversions: Integrating a payment provider, and the redirect this entailed, introduced another step to sign-up. This hurt conversions.
  • Market addressability: Requiring a merchant account up-front effectively limited growth among users who didn’t already have a merchant account — a substantial issue, given Keap’s strong position among businesses with less than 25 employees.
  • Product extensibility: Having payments handled by third parties limited Keap’s access to transaction-level data, which hampered its ability to build features that depended on payments.

The Solution

Keap initially considered building its own payment system in-house to address these issues, but quickly rejected the idea. Although this would give the company the control and the tightly integrated payments experience it sought, it would also distract from work on its core products. Keap was also reluctant to take on additional fraud risk and operational overhead, as these were something it had previously avoided by working only with merchant gateways.

Keap quickly realized that WePay offered them the best of both worlds: the customizability of a purpose-built, in-house product with the operational ease of having payments handled externally.

The Keap team was impressed by the partner-first culture that it found at WePay. WePay also drew on its own experience in platforms to suggest approaches Keap hadn’t considered and point out opportunities it might otherwise have missed. This stood out compared to other processors Keap explored, such as Stripe, which didn’t feel as partnership-oriented.

The two companies were able to arrive at a vision for how Keap could use WePay to builda deeply integrated payments product with numerous advantages for its users, and bring it to market in a few months.

Other attractions included:

  • Easy expansibility: Keapcould piggyback on development work WePay did to adapt to new payments technologies. This would allow it to add support for new payments types and offer its users features like mobile payments and automatic credit card updates without extra development time.
  • Support integration: WePay and Keap would be able to integrate their customer support teams in such a way that WePay could offer seamless tier two support for payment questions. That way, Keap maintained its customer relationship, and tough payments queries could be handled with less disruption to the businesses Keap served.
  • Flexible pricing: WePay and Keap worked out a profit-sharing agreement that allowed the company to profitably offer credit processing at an industry-competitive rate of 2.9% + 30 cents.
  • A roadmap for the future: Keap would be able to quickly bring a product to market while leaving open the option of eventually becoming a payments company itself. The tight integration allowed the company to learn the ropes of payment processing, with the flexible API providing the ability to gradually take on more of the process in-house.

"With the other large processors we talked to, it was all about payment volume and how much business we could give them... But WePay took the time to really listen. They understood the issues we cared about, and they went out of their way to give us answers."

Zach Vance, Business Development, Keap

The Results

The finished product, Keap Payments, debuted at the company’s annual ICON conference in 2015. Keap Payments allows any Keap

customer to start accepting credit card payments immediately, with a set-up that takes as little as 10 minutes and occurs entirely within the same Keap interface users are accustomed to.

Once their account is set up, merchants can immediately accept online payments through Keap’s normal e-commerce portal. And there’s an additional payment feature that wasn’t available in the past — the Keap Reader, an optional mobile peripheral that allows users to capture payments in-person from physical credit cards.

After launch, Keap immediately began seeing strong user adoption and real business results:

Keap Payments quickly became the No. 1 payment processor choice for new users — more new users sign up for Keap payments than the other 12 payment processing options combined.

The installed base grew 60% month over month for the first 6 months, with more than 2,500 businesses signing up and processing more than $7 million monthly.

Thanks to its popularity with new users and strong adoption, WePay became the No. 2 largest revenue-driver among Keap partners, outpacing payment processors that had been in place for years

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