PayNearMe began as a cash transaction network about 12 years ago. Since then, the firm has added 27k retail locations to the network and continue to grow. Its proprietary network allows for the digitisation of cash at neighbourhood retail locations, including participating 7-Eleven and CVS Pharmacy stores. 

Continuing to enhance its offering the firm also added electronic payments three years ago, at the request of its lending clients who wanted to accept more payment types from their customers using our platform. 

As the firm expands into the gaming market and increases its payment capabilities, we spoke to  Michael Kaplan, Chief Revenue Officer and General Manager, PayNearMe, who discussed the challenges they have embarked on and on what sets their offering apart.

Payment Expert: How challenging is it catering to a plethora of different B2B markets? 

Michael Kaplan: The challenges we solve in each market differ, but they all share the same pain which is the need to make it easy for their customers to make payments how, when and where they want. No matter the type of business, making payments should be quick, reliable, easy to do and easy to implement.  

We have built the platform in a way that makes it very extensible. We don’t do one-offs for clients, instead we take their requirements and we extend the platform to meet those needs as well as make them available to all of our clients across the markets we serve. 

Our full range of clients experience these new features, quality-of-life improvements and/or performance upgrades to our platform every week.

We started in markets where we believe cash payments made a difference. The ability to easily accept cash payments made it more convenient for customers and billers, such as those in lending, rent, utilities and gaming. This is our growth focus and where we spend our time solving challenges for. 

Working in different markets creates opportunities to learn best practices and leverage those in new vertical markets. One example is our Engagement Engine which sends reminders to make payments in the bill pay market and can be used to help increase player deposits in the gaming market.

Payment Expert: Can you tell us more about how your engagement in gaming changed over time as the gaming industry in the US has evolved? 

Michael Kaplan: Our experience began in the ADW space in 2013 offering cash deposits for online horse racing, a year later we expanded into the iGaming market with the launch of NJ and Nevada. This was quickly followed by our entry into the sports betting realm after the launch of William Hill in Nevada. 

Currently, we have implementations with 65+ operators in nine states. The need for our service came out of the challenges of card acceptance in the US as well as a desire for player privacy. Card acceptance continues to be challenging but we expect that will get better over time, as it becomes more mainstream more issuers will begin to support it. However, we think there will always be a significant market for cash customers in the US. 

Our current goal is to consolidate popular payment types, debit, credit, ACH and cash into a single platform, reducing complexity for the operators. Additionally, to include new popular payment channels as consumer usage increases and there is a demand for it, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

How important is KYC when it comes to your role in the gaming industry? 

Michael Kaplan: It’s important, but it is not our primary role. We leverage tools to complete the necessary KYC checks and to complete the payment, but the majority of the responsibility sits with the operator. 

Are you able to detail your expansion in recent times and the expansion of the payment types you’re allowing? 

Michael Kaplan: Initially the expansion of electronic payment types included credit, debit, ACH and was followed shortly after by Apple Pay and Google Pay (all currently available). We will continue to look at other popular options that we can consolidate into the platform. 

We also expect to bring new disbursements (payouts) functionality to the gaming market in the near future, such as push to debit which has been very successful in other verticals we serve due to near-instantaneous access to funds. 

Payment Expert: Have you noticed any trends following the pandemic and lockdowns? 

Since the pandemic, we have noticed a significant increase in volume in the ADW space, presumably due to the fact that tracks were closed to spectators and for placing bets. This drove more players to wager online. 

We also witnessed a substantial decrease in sports betting over the summer months, but that has picked back up with the return of professional sports. Cash continues to be a strong performer in this market. 

Lastly what advice would you give to operators looking to enter the US space? 

Michael Kaplan: Operators should recognise the payment landscape is more challenging in the U.S. due to regulations and low card acceptance. Make sure you work with a payments provider that is experienced in the space and understands these challenges. 

Be sure to implement the most popular payment options, while trying to reduce the overall number of integrations to do so. 

Cash is an important payment type to accept due to low card acceptance rates, player privacy and the desire to have instant access to the funds deposited. 

To find out more from PayNearMe, tune in to the Betting on Sports America – Digital conference, where the firm will be taking part in and hosting the eagerly anticipated, ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Digital Payments’.

The panel takes place on Tuesday, December 1 at 1:00 PM EST, the event is free to attend. To join the U.S. and international delegates set to participate in the event, click here to register for free.