Focus on PayNearMe: Fast, familiar payment options essential for attracting cashless players, exec says

July 22, 2022 12:00 PM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
July 22, 2022 12:00 PM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports

No matter how enticing a casino game is, people are unlikely to play unless it’s easy to place a bet and collect winnings. That’s why operators should consider the payment process an essential part of their product as they embrace cashless gaming, Leighton Webb says.

“Payments is a core part of the product. It’s not an ancillary feature separate from the product,” said Webb, vice president of iGaming and Sports Betting at PayNearMe, which annually processes billions of dollars in cash and online transactions for gaming and other industries throughout the United States.

Offering customers a trusted and familiar way to wager and receive winnings makes their experience more enjoyable while increasing their long-term value to operators, Webb said.

PayNearMe, based in Santa Clara, Calif., started in 2009, initially allowing under-served consumers to pay cash to businesses and government agencies through transaction at neighborhood retailers. It began handling gaming industry transactions in 2013 with its cash-at-retail offerings and last fall expanded to offer key payment types for both deposits and withdrawal payment methods in a single platform. Its MoneyLine platform, launched in October 2021, facilitates a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods, known as tenders. Those include debit card, electronic bank transfer, cash, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Venmo.

Anne Hay, vice president and head of marketing, said the company just added “Cardless Cash,” which allows players to withdraw cash from a nationwide network of 18,000 ATMs without using an ATM card. The service, which she said is unique to the industry, allows players to use their casino or sports-betting app to start a withdrawal; they set a PIN and then receive a text with a second withdrawal code and directions to the closest network ATMs.

Even though a payment processor’s role is typically invisible to players, Webb said that streamlined transactions help operators attract and keep more customers. A recent survey by Sapio Research for PayNearMe found that 52 percent of bettors said they had encountered problems with declined payments when signing up for new igaming apps. Of those, 17 percent – roughly one in six – said they left the website and didn’t return.

Webb pointed out that one problem players might encounter when trying to make a deposit on an app is that their bank does not allow gambling transactions. In such cases, PayNearMe can alert the player early in the process and suggest a funding method that works.

Webb said app designers in every industry focus on the user experience: Is it intuitive? Is it easy? Is it clear?

“It’s definitely as much art as it is science in terms of a great design experience,” he said. “With all the things (casino app designers) have to do to be operational, payments tend to be overlooked.”

Webb said customers appreciate casino apps that offer a variety of deposit and payment methods.

“Choice is important,” he noted. “It’s not having tenders for the sake of having tenders. It’s having tenders that people are comfortable with, that they use in their day-to-day life.” That also decreases customer acquisition costs, he added.

“One problem we solve for the operator is they don’t have to do multiple integrations with these payment providers. We provide all of those key tender types, we do the compliance, the onboarding, et cetera.”

Players also appreciate quick and easy withdrawals. Webb explained that most online operators still approve withdrawals manually, resulting in players sometimes waiting days to get even relatively small amounts of money. MoneyLine can automate the process based on guidelines set by the operator, getting money to players faster.

The MoneyLine platform also compiles data that can point to continual improvements in the app. For example, an operator could monitor which types of deposits have the best customer acquisition rates and then look at app metrics for how often people play, how much they bet, and their projected lifetime value. That all ties back to a good payments experience, Webb said.

Despite the emphasis on cashless transactions, he doesn’t foresee paper money disappearing from casino floors.

“One convenient aspect about cash is it’s the only guaranteed tender, meaning it’s not going to be rejected,” Webb said. “And there is a significant segment of the gaming audience that still likes to use cash.”