Is Hybrid the Way to Go?

Community Scholar

When it comes to mobile applications, the question, and subsequent heated debate, of whether to have a hybrid app or a native app arises.


Written by:

Navendu Chandra, Sr. Director, Visa Developer Platform  

Vincent Hessner, Manager, Visa Checkout iOS SDK 


Hybrid vs. Native


 The biases on this topic are entirely understandable. For developers, this question is occupationally existential. For others, many variables like the long-term strategy of the product, retention, and marketing have to be part of the conversation. Much of the debate has been laid out in the blogosphere already, and covering every single point would take much more than a single article.


In a gross overgeneralization, the pros and cons of each ecosystem usually end up in a battle of cost vs quality. Cost here refers to all types of effort, such as developer salaries, talent, development speed, maintainability, etc., and quality usually refers to a responsive UI and hardware interactivity.


With over 2.5Bn smartphone users and an estimated 150Bn app installs in 2016 alone, just like the answer for iOS vs Android, the answer to Hybrid vs. Native is: “Need to build what the customers want, and more importantly use”.


Hybrid Apps


Hybrid mobile apps merge two development platforms into one. The UI and most of the features will be developed as a webpage. However, since you can’t submit a webpage to an App Store, you write a lightweight native app to simply display the webpage within the native app.


Regardless of the reasons for choosing one stack over the other, for the retailers enabling mobile commerce, there is an uptick in investments towards hybrid. At Visa Checkout, we’ve seen an increase of merchants using hybrid apps and all needed an SDK that works well with their hybrid apps. Unfortunately, we lose one of the most important user features of Visa Checkout. Surprisingly, a very crucial feature for using Visa Checkout to make a purchase is biometric login (fingerprint and facial recognition authentication). Why? Well, users simply want to make purchases fast. They want to choose something to buy, double check they’re using the right payment method, and then be done. That’s it.


The last thing users want to do is fumble through their long-term memory and sift through all the passwords they’ve ever created for the right one. We have the data that proves that users experiencing too much friction during the purchase will impatiently give up and never purchase your products! And we don’t blame them.


As a solution, we’ve added hardware capabilities to accompany hybrid apps called the Visa Checkout Hybrid Plugin. One of the disadvantages of hybrid apps is the hardware interaction, but the Hybrid Plugin allows fingerprint and facial authentication so the user doesn’t have to remember their password. In the future, this plugin could also provide other device support, such as camera access for reading your card number when adding a new payment card.


The road ahead


The digital transformation has been a boon to both businesses and consumers, making commerce easier, faster, and more accessible.

The unprecedented rate of innovation and consumers frequent digital experiences keep raising the bar for customer adoption and delight. All the mobile platforms and digital ecosystems are making significant investments in biometrics in order to further eliminate friction and provide for delightful end user experiences.


As was the case with mobile banking, the adoption for these new technologies and features take time for mass user adoption.






A recent study by Forrester, shows that 39% of the market is ready for new technology and eager to try new experiences, with another 32% ready to adopt close behind if the technology proves worthwhile. Although people are hardwired to resist new things, when they are offered a low-risk improvement, they are more likely to adopt it.


With over 600 million transactions in 2016, Juniper anticipates that number to more than triple, with an estimated 2 billion transactions in 2017. You can read more about the Biometrics in payments here.






Staying ahead of the curve, Visa is making several investments in integrating and enabling technologies around fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, voice recognition and other forms of biometrics. By the year 2020, Mercator expects majority of the users in the US utilizing biometrics security on their smartphones.


Learn more about these capabilities biometrics to enable easier, safer and faster payment experiences by visiting:


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