Carl Degiorgio, Chief Operating Officer at PressEnter Group, says that a seamless payments journey is vital to customer acquisition and retention but that the industry needs to be more willing to embrace innovative products such as cryptocurrency and Pay-and-Play-like models.
Payments are a critical part of the online casino experience, but they continue to cause headaches for operators in markets around the world. If the payment journey is not smooth and seamless, players will simply move over to a rival brand and are unlikely to ever return.
Statistics suggest that on average, 30% of players will abandon the cashier if their preferred payment method is not available. These players will not come back to that brand. A considerable chunk of the remaining 70% will also drop off along the journey if they encounter too much friction.
This is why it is so important for operators to offer a wide selection of localised payment options, with a payment flow and journey that is quick and intuitive. To do this, they must find stable, robust and reliable payment partners, but that is easier said than done.
At PressEnter Group, we have a dedicated payment solutions team that focuses solely on onboarding new payment methods and improving the payment flow and journey to increase the number of players that ultimately deposit into and withdraw from our online casinos.
Payment challenges are being faced due to the rapid growth the industry has enjoyed and the move to regulated markets where operators must meet stringent requirements. While great progress has been made in embracing regulation, payments are a little behind the curve still.
This is certainly true when it comes to cutting-edge payments such as cryptocurrencies. Digital money reduces a lot of the friction that can occur during the payments journey, but most regulators remain cautious about its place in the online gambling ecosystem.
This means an education process needs to be undertaken, and this is something that operators and suppliers need to join forces on if they are to enact a change in perception and regulation.
For an operator, there is nothing more frustrating than a player wanting to deposit their own hard-earned money onto your online casino only for that transaction to be rejected. This is something that most people have experienced with ecommerce.
There are myriad reasons why payments are declined – from bank declines to PSP thresholds – and while it is not usually the fault of the casino, it is the operator that ultimately loses out as the player goes elsewhere.
Cryptocurrencies drastically reduce the chance of a deposit or withdrawal being declined, as there are fewer steps for the transaction to pass through before it is successful. That is why I believe the industry must embrace digital currencies and use them to streamline payment journeys.
But what does a seamless payment journey actually look like?
For PressEnter Group, it is one that is simple and quick yet totally secure. There is a very thin line between simplicity and security, but operators, together with their payment partners should and really must work to strike the right balance between the two.
New payment methods are always coming to market as are updates and improvements to existing ones, so operators must ensure they stay on top of the latest payment developments and trends.
It is also important to constantly seek ways of improving the payment journey. This includes identifying any unnecessary steps, clicks, taps and swipes and removing them. I think it is also important to tell players why their transaction has been declined if and when that happens.
Ultimately, payments is no different to other aspects of an online casino and operators must always be working to improve the UX and embrace any new products or innovations that become available to them. Of course, a lot of A/B testing helps to fine-tune the journey.
If operators do not do this, they risk losing players to their rivals in what is one of the most competitive industries in the world. This is something that simply cannot happen.
Payments is also an area where operators can gain an advantage over their rivals. If they get it right, they can increase their market share, unlock higher acquisition and acceptance rates, boost player spend and enjoy greater retention and loyalty.
Customers value simplicity and that is why they tend to shift to operators that offer a frictionless user experience. A good example is Trustly and how the payment provider has significantly increased its market share following the launch of Pay and Play.
This is true payment innovation, allowing players to deposit and withdraw without the need to create an account. In short, it packaged different components of the payments journey and went to market as a simple yet secure product.
The operators that offered it or similar models, and especially the early adopters, saw an immediate uplift. Not all regulators might have embraced pay and play payment methods, and again that is why operators and suppliers need to work together to educate the industry and especially regulators.
Payment solutions really are at the core of any online casino and that is why they must be treated with the utmost importance.