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Teams Payment App Targets Small Businesses
Announced in preview on May 1 2023, the Teams Payment app is now available for testing in tenants with the caveat that payments are only possible for organizations located in the United States and Canada using partner payment services provided by Stripe and PayPal (available now), and GoDaddy (coming soon).
The value proposition is simple. Teams has 300 million monthly active users with the potential to grow further as the Office 365 installed base swells past its current 382 million paid seats. Many Microsoft 365 tenants are used by small businesses. People have become accustomed to doing business via audio and video chats and meetings and Microsoft has added virtual appointments and a booking app to allow individuals to schedule online meetings with external people. Now you can add the very attractive notion of being able to request and receive payment for online consultations. Target professionals include doctors, lawyers, technical consultants, real estate professionals, and so on. Anyone who provides a paid-for service that can be delivered via a Teams appointment can use this app.
Configuring the Teams Payment App
The Teams Payments app is available in the Teams app store (Figure 1). To make it available to users in chats and meetings, make sure that the app isn’t blocked (it was in my tenant) and include it in the app setup policies that govern app availability for users. It will take a couple of hours before the updated setup policy takes effect and the app becomes available to users.
Before anyone can request or receive payments, the app must connect to a payment service. Until GoDaddy becomes available, you need either a Stripe or PayPal account for this purpose (the PayPal account must be a business rather than a personal account). We have a Stripe account to process subscriber payments for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook bought through Gumroad.com, so Stripe was the easy option.
Connecting to a payment service involves signing into the service to validate access and establishing a link between Teams and the payment provider. Given that the three payment partners chosen by Microsoft have robust APIs and have been in the payment business for years, the connection to Stripe worked without a hitch.
To request a payment, you must add the Teams Payment app to a chat or meeting. You can then identify the person you’re asking to pay and give the reason for payment and the amount (Figure 3).
After sending, the payment request turns up in the target user’s activity feed (Figure 4). Like any other online payment, the payer enters details of their credit or debit card and Teams transmits the data to the service provider for processing. Assuming that the card details are approved by the service provider, the payment goes through and turns up in the payee’s account, just like it would had the payment been made via a web site.
Many of the features deployed by Teams are driven by the need to deliver features requested by large enterprises. At times, it seems like Teams is becoming like Word and Excel: feature-rich but with functionality that many don’t know about or never use. In this case, the Teams Payment app is targeted at small businesses (it’s unlikely that Accenture or any of the very large Teams organizations will demand payment using the app) and that’s a good thing.
Insight like this doesn’t come easily. You’ve got to know the technology and understand how to look behind the scenes. Benefit from the knowledge and experience of the Office 365 for IT Pros team by subscribing to the best eBook covering Office 365 and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.