After more than 18 years in the business, we can proudly say that developing custom software is our speciality. In this article, you’ll gain insights on how we did this in a very specific case: custom software development for Utility Bill Payment Services.

The Context 

In 1997, Mobile Distribution, a financial services company, was looking for a comprehensive platform to facilitate bill payments, electronic top-ups, insurance transactions, toll payments and other financial transactions directly from smartphones or desktop/laptop devices. As a result, they introduced a user-friendly utility bill payment service accessible via smartphones and computers. Initially launched for partner stores in Romania, this intelligent payment collection service has experienced substantial growth. Currently, the platform seamlessly integrates with over 200 service and utility providers, allowing clients to effortlessly settle bills, purchase insurance and vignettes, and recharge SIM cards.

With the help of specially created smartphone apps for each partner business, they have grown their network to include over 10,000 locations since 2016. In 2020, they introduced a business-to-consumer (B2C) mobile app to enhance consumer accessibility. The app, allows end-users to conveniently pay their bills from the comfort of their homes. The successful launch of the application on both iOS and Android platforms marked a significant milestone for Mobile Distribution.

The partnership between evozon and Mobile Distribution

Our partnership began in 2013 and has grown stronger each year. The client approached us with the objective of digitising their payment system to enhance its efficiency and simplify the payment process for individuals less familiar with internet usage and payment applications. By doing this, users can experience a streamlined and user-friendly payment process, allowing them to settle their bills quickly and easily through the dedicated partner network established by Mobile Distribution for this purpose.

What was the challenge for this Utility Payment Service?

The client had used an older application to evaluate its business model. However, as it began to operate slowly, it became clear that enhancements and expansions were necessary, including tax and bill payment features. The challenge was to find a partner capable of helping them achieve their goals. We believe they have successfully met this challenge.

We upgraded from an outdated platform to a modern application that is faster, has more features, is more secure, and has a user-friendly design. Additionally, we needed to upgrade our technology to maintain ongoing business operations, manage a large volume of transactions efficiently, and integrate seamlessly with numerous partners.

Addressing these challenges also required a comprehensive testing strategy, collaboration across teams, and a commitment to quality assurance throughout the entire software development lifecycle.

The Solution: A Tailored Approach with Custom Software

To address the legacy status of the POS software, we strategically implemented measures to enhance system scalability. This involved integrating new providers into existing flows while preserving established logic for other providers. The utilization of Spring Integration significantly improved the overall coherence and uniformity of the system.

To fulfil specific requirements, we created various back-office components by developing custom software from scratch. This included the administration of the POS system and the ERP system. We set up essential resources for transactions, such as users, POS, providers, and products, by utilizing the bespoke apps we developed.

Our comprehensive solution also included several additional components. 

  • The development of an API for transactions that caters to all types of POS;
  • The introduction of a web-based POS for B2B transactions;
  •  The implementation of an API that facilitates integration with external systems, enabling transactions with all providers in our  network;
  • The launch of a B2C mobile application that empowers end-users to conveniently pay their bills through the platform;

The Custom System

To meet the client’s comprehensive needs, the evozon team created a system consisting of multiple APIs, POS applications, web applications, and mobile applications. This versatile solution has the following capabilities:

Cloud Deployment, ensuring flexibility and accessibility, and Seamless Provider Integration. Effortlessly accommodating new providers without disrupting existing ones, the current roster includes over 200 providers such as Telekom, Vodafone, Orange, Western Union, Lottery, Taxes and fines, Local water companies, and more.

  • Cloud Deployment: Ensuring flexibility and accessibility.
  • Seamless Provider Integration: Effortlessly accommodating new providers without disrupting existing ones, with a current roster of over 200 providers such as Telekom, Vodafone, Orange, Western Union, Lotto, Taxes and Fines, National Water Company, and more.
  • Real-time API Integration: Synchronizing data with existing suppliers’ systems instantly.
  • Accounting System Integration: Harmonizing with the client’s primary accounting system for streamlined financial operations.
  • Sub-Second Transaction Time: Ensuring swift and efficient transaction processing.
  • Permissions Management: Effectively regulating access, permitting users to designated resources and functionalities.
  • Comprehensive Transaction Reporting: Providing detailed insights through comprehensive reports on all transactions.
  • Store Expansion Capability: Facilitating the client in expanding the availability of the B2B solution to a greater number of stores.
  • Solution Commercialization: Allowing the client to market and sell the current solution, while also providing the flexibility for integrating additional platforms such as gas stations and banks.
  • Mobile Application Offering: Enhancing user convenience with a mobile application, enabling secure bill payments from the comfort of their homes using credit/debit cards.

The Testing Strategy

Our testing strategy included manual, automated, performance, and load testing to prioritize the application’s functionality and reliability. In addition to addressing immediate concerns, our team strategically positioned the client for long-term growth and improved customer satisfaction. 

We ensured successful integration with various platforms, identified and eliminated defects to maintain error-free functionality, verified scalability for increased loads and transaction volumes, and systematically addressed bottlenecks for a consistently smooth user experience, even during peak times. This approach not only resolved current challenges but also laid a resilient foundation for the client’s sustained success in a dynamic business environment.

The Technologies Used for Custom Software Development:

For the readers that are tech-savvy, here’s the tech stack used for developing these custom solutions: Spring, Spring Integration, Spring REST API, Spring JPA, Redis, AWS, SQS, MySQL, PostgreSQL, React Native, C++ (pos), JSP (web interface), tests with Sonar, screen scraping JSOUP, Selenium.

What are the key results of developing this custom software solution?

  • The number of daily transactions grew considerably from less than 10,000 to more than 140,000 per day.
  • The transaction time decreased significantly, for example during peak time (10 am-11 am), when over 21.000 transactions were successfully processed, the number of transactions per second was 5,8.
  • The number of integrated APIs grew from 3 to around 200.
  • The ability to access real-time reports.
  • The mobile app is available on iOS, Android and Huawei Store.
    • At the end of 2022, the number of app downloads grew from: 22.610 to 19k on Play Store, from 6110 to 35.4k on App Store, and from 444 to 15k on App Gallery.
  • The number of stores in their partner network grew to over 23.000. The platforms have high availability without downtime.
  • The number of users in the B2C application grew exponentially from 1100 in 2020 to over 177.000, while the number of processed payments, for the same timeline, grew from 848 to over 500.000.
  • The number of B2B users (mobile and desktop/laptop) grew to over 25.000.
  • The POS system now supports over 12.700 devices.
  • New providers are added to the system each year; from January 2022 to December, 19 new providers have been integrated. And 23 more in 2023.
  • We integrated AI to automatically retrieve data from the receipt.
  • Users can automatically pay their bills.
  •  The new Android POS client solution has reached 2000 stores

Final thoughts

Custom software development is our speciality. We like to build from scratch solutions for our partners. In this case, we developed a web and mobile app for the Utility Bill Payments Service. If you want to see what Cloud solutions we provided for the same partner, you can check out this page. And if you need help with building custom solutions and you’re looking for a partner, let’s connect