Focus on PayNearMe: Streamlined payment system benefits players, operators, PayNearMe VP says

October 21, 2022 8:00 AM

Focus on PayNearMe: Streamlined payment system benefits players, operators, PayNearMe VP says

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October 21, 2022 8:00 AM
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As legal online sportsbooks expand, players are demanding faster, easier ways to make deposits and withdrawals, while operators often deal with managing multiple vendors and integrations, Leighton Webb says.

“With any product, once you reach a critical mass of people, the expectations change,” says Webb, vice president and general manager of iGaming and Sports Betting for payments processor PayNearMe. While early adopters of online casino gaming and sports betting put up with issues such as deposit and payout delays, today’s users have less patience.

“The things that players used to tolerate aren’t acceptable now” because online sports betting attracts a much broader audience than in its early days. Consumers accustomed to picking an online movie or playing a social game on an app want a comparable experience when placing bets.

“It’s got to be easy. It’s got to be intuitive, seamless, and, most of all, enjoyable,” Webb said. “Payoffs have to be quick.”

On the other side of the transaction, operators often contend with managing multiple vendors and integrations for payment, which can pose difficulties in maintaining a consistent player payment experience. Webb said a single payment platform benefits operators and players alike. For operators, it consolidates vendors, contracts, and integrations; for players, it provides that easy-to-use, enjoyable experience.

PayNearMe, based in Santa Clara, Calif., annually processes billions of dollars in cash and online transactions for gaming and other industries throughout the United States. Its single-platform approach for gaming transactions features a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods, including debit card, electronic bank transfer, cash, PayPal, and Venmo. Apple Pay and Google Pay also can be used for deposits; an additional withdrawal method, set to launch next quarter, is “cardless cash,” a unique option that allows players to obtain cash from a nationwide network of 18,000 ATMs after initiating the transaction through their casino or sports-betting app.

Webb said PayNearMe allows operators to provides multiple transaction methods through one platform rather than multiple integrations.

Players appreciate the convenience of choosing their preferred method for deposits and withdrawals, Webb said.

The single platform approach also provides a consistent experience with the operator’s brand.

“Players interact with the brand; they don’t make a differentiation between ‘I’m on my mobile app’ or ‘I’m at the casino,’” he said. “They want to be able to gamble wherever they might be, whether it’s on their phone or in their living room.”

The key, he continued, is for the operator to provide a consistent player experience that is neither confusing nor complicated. Webb described “a great brand experience” as not being tied to where or when a player decides to bet. “Wherever I want and however I want, that should be available to me as a player.”

Webb said one reason PayPal and Venmo are so popular is that they make it easy for users to set aside money for a specific purpose such as gambling.

Although player deposits into a casino wallet are nearly instantaneous, Webb said some operators still use slow payment methods for player withdrawals. For example, an ACH transfer can take two days.

“I always think about these things from a consumer perspective, in terms of what’s their expectation,” he said. “I clicked ‘disburse.’ I put in my bank number. Where is it? Why don’t I have it?”

Webb said the online experience should be closer to what happens in a cash transaction at a physical casino.

“It would be weird if you went up to a casino cage, handed over your chips, and they said, ‘OK, come back Tuesday.’ You wouldn’t understand that.”

He noted that players using electronic withdrawal methods can see their money show up in a matter of seconds. “Why do things take extra time when they shouldn’t?” he asked. “If your competitors are offering that and you’re not, … players over time are going to gravitate to the best experience.”

Webb said casino operators should structure their payment and withdrawal experience to be on par with companies known for their sleek user experience, such as Uber, Starbucks, and Amazon.

“As the industry has moved into a more mass market, the expectations actually become much higher,” he said. “Because of that, it’s really putting an emphasis on innovation and player experience.”

Webb said a streamlined payment system also benefits operators, with lower cost of player acquisition, increased player retention, and reduced technical overhead, all adding to their bottom line.