The Value of Embedding Payments into the App Experience

By Walt Granville, SVP Embedded Finance, Bank & Network Operations


There’s one business-tested philosophy that organizations can lean on when creating their customer acquisition strategies: Follow the money. 

Increasingly, that money is being spent on mobile apps. For context, between 2020 and 2021, global consumer spend on mobile apps increased by 20%, climbing up to $133 billion U.S. dollars.1 It’s clear the dominance, and revenue potential, of the app economy is here. 

The common thread between payments and the growing app economy is the seamless customer experience. Increasingly, companies looking to make deeper customer connections are embedding the payment process into every digital interaction — making it more convenient to pay via an in-app environment.

At Netspend, we're not just working with traditional financial institutions exploring embedded payments. Increasingly, we’re having conversations with early-stage fintechs, retailers, and even business owners who are looking to enhance their branded app experiences through embedded payments technology. 

The common thread between each of these organizations is a desire to digitize the customer experience by streamlining app payment interactions. These conversations are centered on how integrating payment tools can simplify the process of transacting within their apps to boost their core businesses, retain customers, and enhance the user experience.

Below we explore how embedded finance solutions can help business leaders across all industries capitalize on this market growth.

Understanding the Customer Journey: Meeting Consumers Where They Shop, Spend and Play

To win customer spend, the interaction must be seamless. When a consumer engages with an app, having the right touchpoints that can flawlessly turn browsers into buyers is critical. Embedded finance solutions are at the heart of convenient transactions – providing a simple path to purchase.

Meeting customers’ needs via a mobile device means having the capability to play a role in how consumers shop, spend, or even play. As the app economy grows, so do the number of opportunities for consumers to connect with brands that resonate with their lifestyles. Whether it be through a retail app, a banking app, or a gaming app, it’s important all brands — both financial and non-financial — leverage payments as a conduit to a better customer experience. 

The individual consumer spend on mobile apps makes an even greater case for embedded, in-app payments. In 2020, iPhone users alone spent 38% more on mobile apps than the year prior, with the average consumer spending $138. This is a stark difference from the just $33 per user in 2015.2 Its clear consumers are far more comfortable using mobile apps for their everyday purchases on-the-go, which indicates a growing appetite for using mobile apps as a primary payment method. The rapid growth also indicates consumers are increasingly likely to stash funds on their mobile app to use for future purchases. 

Particularly in the gaming industry, mobile apps have created a lucrative revenue model. In 2021, games accounted for 67% of total app revenue.3 The gaming industry has identified a niche of motivated users that want dedicated funds for gaming and want to engage via mobile apps allowing them to continue their gaming experience without being disrupted. There’s a reason the global gaming market is conceivably poised for immense growth estimated to hit $287.1 billion by 2026.4

How Embedded Payments Partnerships Create Better App Experiences 

The embedded payments market’s role in the rise of the app economy presents a compelling use case for brands across all industries to use digital payments to enhance the mobile customer experience. By using a payments partner that integrates payment accounts into mobile apps, brands can remove the friction and latency created when users are sent to a third-party page for payment. Keeping consumers connected in-app increases the chances for conversion, and boosts opportunities to drive repeat business.

Outside of the seamless payment experience itself, allowing customers to automatically reload funds onto a card or payment account linked to an app creates a cohesive branded interaction. Enabling consumers to simply reload funds onto a card or payment account to continue their in-app experience gives customers exactly what they want: quick, frictionless payment experiences. For instance, what we’re seeing across Netspend retail partners is an increased desire to leverage payment apps and products to consolidate and deliver loyalty programs to provide frictionless payments under one single platform.

Using branded payments experiences, one feature Netspend helps their retail partners deliver upon, is a powerful way to leverage embedded payments as a customer acquisition strategy. As customers engage deeper with apps, it’s important for all brands to embed payments deeper into their own business ecosystems. 

Increasingly — whether you’re a financial or non-financial brand — this is best done through a modern technology payments partner, like Netspend, that can easily integrate you into their network of integrated partners and retail distribution partners. From there, companies have an even greater opportunity to secure their revenue share from the growth of the app economy.


About the Author: Walt Granville serves as Netspend’s Senior Vice President, Business Development. Walt leads a team of experts that are responsible for working with partners to unlock growth through payments and digital banking innovation. His Netspend partnership team has developed card programsemployer payment solutions and embedded finance offerings across multiple industries including; Technology, Gaming, Ecommerce, Lending, Fintech, Healthcare, Retail and Alternative Financial Services. An industry veteran with over 20 years of experience in the US and European financial services and payment industry, Walt has held roles managing strategic partnerships and product innovation teams for payment networks, processors, issuers and technology innovators. Prior to joining Netspend, Walt held various roles with Visa, First Data, Affinion Loyalty Group, and Monitise.


Sensor Tower, “Store Intelligence”, December 2021,

Sensor Tower, “Store Intelligence”, December 2021,

Business of Apps, “App Revenue Data (2022)”, February 2022,

Research and Markets, Global Gaming Market (2021 to 2026) - Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecasts, March 2021,