Focus on Inovio: Streamlining gaming payments

April 7, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
April 7, 2023 8:00 AM

Payments platform Inovio provides advantages for operators doing online billing for gaming sites. Inovio is a fully integrated technology-driven omnichannel payments platform. It recognizes that gaming is an important industry in the ecommerce space.

Conal Cunningham, Inovio’s general manager, said the company, which has been doing electronic billing for a decade, is built from the ground up and helps gaming merchants deal with the risks associated with taking online transactions as well as maximizing the potential revenue from a worldwide audience.

“With gaming, you have a relationship with your customer,” Cunningham said. “This isn’t someone waking up and wanting to buy a pair of shoes, going to a search engine and finding their way to your shop. You sell them a pair of shoes and never see that customer again or maybe in a year when they want to buy another pair.”

He added, “Here, you’re going to see your customers regularly and you’re going to be transacting their card and maybe more than one card and paying that customer out from time to time.”

This can take us to the extreme of ecommerce, and that’s what makes gaming so interesting.

The pace of payments (and fraud)
“Gaming stretches the limits of payment platforms,” Cunningham said. “A lot of people who designed those payment platforms had that sneaker shopping scenario in mind, so when presented with rapid-fire transactions that might come from the same customer on the same day, they are unable to deal with it and certainly unable to manage those things from a risk standpoint”

In its toolbelt, Inovio has mechanisms for fraud prevention, chargeback mitigation, routing transactions intelligently to reduce risk, and functions that enable gaming merchants to support recurring billing models, chopping up wallets and recharging on standing agreements and subscriptions. Inovio has routing capabilities to send a transaction on a credit card to the correct acquirer for a region and the ability to deal with compliance issues — all together providing a one-stop shop for a gaming website to cover everything with one integration.

“We can get that website into all of the acquirers that they need to serve the audiences in the markets they serve as well as plug them into a chargeback mitigation that works, get 3-D Secure done, and get accounts updated so operators don’t spend a lot of time and resources and multiple integrations or compromising by doing two or three because the resources or time weren’t there,” Cunningham said.

Inovio’s fraud prevention program has a lot of velocity mitigation in it. Customers are allowed to spend a certain amount, either in a dollar figure or count of transactions or both. Inovio will keep count of how many times the card gets declined by their bank — for whatever reason.

“It’s important to know if there’s a decline on the card because it’s stolen versus a decline because the issuing bank is unsure and the client is low on available credit,” Cunningham said.

“Our mitigation platform can tell the difference between a new customer and an old customer and provide different parameters around that,” Cunningham said. “It allows for things like negative databases and positive databases. If you have a whale for a customer, you can put them in your positive database. If you get people you never want to see again for a variety of reasons, we can blacklist that out. If you have regions you don’t want to work with, we can tailor our system to not allow transactions from certain states or regions in the world.”

This is helpful specifically for the gaming market, Cunningham added.

Customer and bank relationships
“A business might extend a whole lot more trust to someone who’s been on your site for the last six months and behaving well. You might allow that customer to spend more money in one day, but you still want to let your new customers in and give them a little bit of room while working on establishing that trust relationship. Perhaps you’re giving them a little shorter rope. If you let your trusted guy spend $500 a day, you might let your guy you don’t trust as much spend $200 to $250 a day.”

In addition to tools to trust the customer, Inovio also uses verification tools to ensure the number at the bank of a card is correct. As for more advanced practices, Inovio can look at data around a transaction of what type of card it is — whether prepaid or debit card linked to a bank account or credit card linked to a credit limit, Cunningham said. They will know if it’s a card connected to an affluent customer such as a platinum card.

Inovio also has chargeback mitigation tools where it’s connected with processing platforms and mitigation networks that have agreements with issuing banks. For instance, f a customer wants to file a dispute, that dispute — instead of going through the card brands and becoming a chargeback, which is a ding on the website and costs an additional fee — those get routed through the mitigation networks to Inovio, where it automatically matches it to the transactions, issues a refund automatically, and makes that customer happy in real time.

And, in terms of reputation? “We can get information from the gaming network that this person filed a dispute so you may not work with them again or may want to reach out to that customer to make sure they are not unhappy about anything,” Cunningham said.

That’s a real-time fusion into the platform system, Cunningham added. Ordinarily, for a website or merchant, they would need to work with another party to get those features, which is why Inovio adds value.

Support for all types of transactions
Inovio covers all types of recurring payments starting with a classic subscription where something is billed on a monthly, weekly, or quarterly basis. They have an intelligent recycle engine, so when a subscription is running and shows a customer has insufficient funds on their card, Cunningham said they will retrieve those funds on another day instead of canceling the subscription. They know to retrieve those funds on days that are typically after pay day or after bills get paid as a way to save the customer for the website.

Inovio also supports unscheduled recurring payments such as card-on-file types of systems where a gaming website will allow customers to top up their wallet, Cunningham said. When they get low, the system will automatically run a new transaction on the card and fill that wallet up so the customer can have a pleasant and seamless gaming experience.

One function that separates Inovio from other platforms is its ability to connect with any acquirer in the world, Cunningham said, which comes in handy if there’s a license in three states and there’s sometimes the need to work with multiple acquirers or work with one acquirer for one business type and another for another business type.

“Our system gives the site a one-stop shop and connects to all of those acquiring institutions with a single integration,” he said. “We can intelligently route every transaction coming in according to which institutions should be getting that transaction. We can manage by currency, card type and even manage and route transactions based on where the customer came from, as they may have come in through an ad campaign or geolocation.”

It costs a lot of time and money for a developer or outsource solution, in addition to trusting people to make the right connections, Cunningham said. Maintaining that connection a year later is important. If an acquirer changes how you need to work with them, who is going to know that happened, he added.

“You don’t want to wake up in the morning and be unable to transact because something changed because we didn’t keep up with it,” Cunningham said. “We keep up with all of that. In addition, if you have a finite amount of resources, do you compromise on something like fraud prevention? By working with Inovio, you get it all at once, so you don’t have to worry about what might happen in the future.”