Auka: scaling mobile payments safely and reliably with Google Cloud Platform

By designing its payments platform to benefit banks, merchants and private customers, Norway-based Auka is the fastest growing fintech company in EMEA during 2016. Under its previous brand name mCash, the company launched Norway’s first mobile payments system in 2014, the first to run payments entirely in the Cloud. After selling the mCASH brand a year later to Norway’s second largest financial institution, SpareBank 1, the company relaunched as Auka. They offer a complete white label payments platform to international banks encompassing mobile payments, merchant services and other innovative solutions. With Google Cloud Platform, they found not only the best technological solution but also a dependable partner, willing to provide Auka and its regulators with all information and assistance needed in order to comply with rigorous financial regulations throughout the region.

“Google Cloud Platform makes perfect sense for running a safe, distributed and scalable payment infrastructure. When the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway had questions touching specifically on privacy or security-related issues, Google really stepped up and delivered. The fact that Google uses credible third-party auditors who certify the infrastructure according to international best-practices worked greatly to our benefit."- Daniel Döderlein, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Auka

Extreme scaling, improved analytics

Auka’s home market, Norway, a country of just five million people, had well over 2 billion card transactions in 2016 alone - the highest per-capita rate in the world. The mobile wallet adoption rate in the Nordic region is even more impressive (reaching 65% in 2016), paving the way for mobile payments to replace cash and cards in a few years. Auka set out to build a safe, reliable payments platform that could also scale at great speed in the years to come.

Google App Engine provides the backbone of Auka’s infrastructure. Delegating the challenge of scaling the server-side infrastructure to Google allows Auka to focus its resources on building the best possible platform for its partners. Using Google BigQuery for reporting and data analytics, the company can process massive amounts of data in seconds, optimizing everything from merchant reporting to user behaviour analysis within the apps. Auka’s staff can easily build dashboards and run analyses with Google Data Studio and Google Cloud Datalab, keeping track of growth and identifying areas of improvement. Meanwhile, Apigee API Platform and Google Cloud Endpoints are helping Auka open up its APIs, enabling customers to further tailor Auka’s services to their need.

“With Google Cloud we’re able to keep growing, not only in Scandinavia, but also in the global market as consumers shift from cards to mobile payments. We wouldn’t be able to tackle such volumes without extreme scaling capabilities. With App Engine and the rest of Google Cloud’s managed services, we can go from ten transactions a second to thousands a second without a hiccup. Expanding across borders into new markets becomes vastly more tractable. It scales beautifully." - Daniel Döderlein, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Auka

Award-winning technology, continuously evolving

With Google Cloud Platform, Auka built a powerful, resilient financial services platform, that can accommodate the ever-growing volume of mobile transactions not just in Norway but throughout Europe and the rest of the world. In the summer of 2017, Auka won the award for best mobile payments platform in Europe at the CFI Magazine Technology Awards, vindicating its decision to base itself 100% in the Cloud. Auka continues to improve and evolve its platform, experimenting with Google’s suite of machine learning tools for predictions and automations as well as Cloud Spanner for globally consistent scalable storage of relational data. Meanwhile, Auka is already looking beyond Europe, helping and advising banks worldwide to take advantage of this technology to grow their position in the market.

“Our transaction engine is an intricate piece of technology. We’ve put a lot of work and research into building a sturdy and scalable solution from scratch. We started our journey with App Engine because it had the best specs for our needs. Over time, we've grown to love this platform.” Daniel Döderlein, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Auka