Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko, says alternative payment options can help US online casinos stand out from their rivals and drive first time depositors.

There are many ways that online casino brands can drive new player sign ups. Most focus heavily on bonuses and promotions, but there are other methods that are just as – if not more so – effective. 

This is certainly the case in newly regulated markets such as the US where players might lack trust in operators and the incentives they offer when they sign up and deposit for the first time. 

To help operators better understand what players look for when signing up to an online casino, Bojoko has collected and analysed three years’ worth of data from our members and site visitors. 

From this, we have been able to determine what factors really drive players to online casinos and ultimately make them go on to sign up, deposit and play. 

It might come as a surprise that one of the greatest drivers of first-time depositors is actually the payment methods offered by the online casino. 

This is an area where US operators can get a jump on their rivals in iGaming states such as New Jersey – at present, most offer a limited range of options including Visa and Mastercard. 

But those that offer alternative payment methods like PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and even Paybymobile not only have a point of difference to their rivals but also open up an additional acquisition channel. 

In fact, our data shows that the online casinos listed on Bojoko that offer alternative payment options can enjoy as many as four to ten additional FTDs per month. 

While Visa and Mastercard will undoubtedly make up the majority of deposits and withdrawals in the US – especially in the early days of the market – consumer preferences are changing. 

In 2019, it was estimated that half of all global ecommerce payments were made via alternative payment methods instead of more traditional options such as debit cards and credit cards. 

This is a trend that is only going to continue and online casino operators in the US must be aware of this and take the necessary action to stay ahead of the game.

Why APMs are becoming more popular:

As we move towards being a cashless and even cardless society, the popularity of APMs is only going to increase as they allow consumers to pay via their smartphone devices. 

Even today, consumers expect to be able to pay for items in store via their mobile phones and when shopping online they expect to be able to purchase with a single click or tap. 

This is simply not possible with traditional payment methods – if depositing at an online casino with Visa you must enter details such as name, address, card number, security code, etc. 

If depositing with PayPal, you simply enter the amount you wish to deposit and then log-in to your PayPal wallet using your email address and password.  

With the former, it can take more than a minute to fill out the necessary information and make the deposit, whereas with the latter it can be done in just a few seconds. 

Unique to the online casino industry is also the need to withdraw and once again it is alternative payment methods that provide the near-instant transaction times consumers expect. 

The most popular APMs 

PayPal is the most popular alternative payment method. Our PayPal casino page has hundreds of users every month with players searching specifically for sites that offer this payment option. 

PayPal has more than 340 million active users and is widely trusted. This will help US online casinos reassure players that they can deposit and withdraw safely and securely. 

Mobile payment options are becoming increasingly popular, too. We are seeing more casinos accept Apple Pay as well as one-click options like Skrill 1-Tap. 

Charge to mobile payment methods are increasingly common as well, with the likes of Payforit allowing players to deposit into their online casino casinos and charge it to their mobile phone bill. 

Advantages of APMs 

For US online casinos, there are plenty of upsides to offering alternative payment options to players, especially when it comes to differentiation and meeting player expectations. 

As the market matures, players will come to expect the same payment options and transaction times as those in established markets such as the UK. 

Operators should offer these payment methods now as a point of difference and also to educate players that they can be used to deposit into and withdraw from their casino accounts. 

By adding major payment options like PayPal, operators can build trust among players – this will be vital in the early days of the market and to ensure they maximise the first mover advantage. 

Most importantly, however, it enables them to open up an additional channel through which to engage new customers and drive first time depositors at scale.