Interview with MuchBetter on payments challenges for gaming operators

Tuesday 31 July 2018 08:55 CET | Interview

Jens Bader, MuchBetterThere are three critical areas of iGaming payments that need to be fixed: unfair transaction fees, poor user experience, and high fraud levels

Can you give us a glimpse into the main trends in the gaming industry?

Market consolidation is a big trend in gaming. Margins are squeezed and it’s harder than ever to stay profitable, which is why we’re seeing so much consolidation in the market. Scale is the best route to success in today’s market. Another big trend is having to adapt to regulatory change. The US just opened the door to sports betting, so there will be a gold rush as operators strive to cash in on the opportunity there. In stark contrast, other markets are clamping down on gaming operations and changes to FOBT limits in the UK will hit physical casinos hard.

What are the challenges for gaming operators with regards to payments and complying with regulations?

Before we launched MuchBetter to the iGaming industry, we identified three critical areas of iGaming payments that we thought needed to be fixed – then tailored a solution to match. The three issues we identified were unfair transaction fees, poor user experience and high levels of fraud.

Starting with transaction fees – the traditional iGaming payments model where popular e-wallets are involved, is still built on the principle of charging for every transaction, but as transaction fees have increased through the years, it has put operators in an untenable position. They either have to pay more and more for the same service, or risk losing players overnight if they drop their payment partner. MuchBetter solves this challenge with its net deposit model, which lets operators pay transaction fees on their winnings only ‘money in’ minus ‘money out’. The fees we charge are in closer correspondence with the real value of the player for the operator and we believe this is a fairer transaction model.

The payment experience hasn’t always been great in gaming. Mobile gaming is more popular than ever, but unlike many modern mobile apps in other sectors such as Uber, Tinder, Airbnb which work seamlessly, a lot of the payment processes on gaming sites have not yet fully transformed to support a good mobile experience. That’s why, with MuchBetter, players can pay with just their phone and fingerprint, with no passwords or security questions to remember.

There is also the bonus abuse – where the gaming operator spends a significant amount of money to acquire new customers by offering a bonus. This means that when customers open deposits, they receive a certain percent of additional money to play with. Fraudsters exploit this benefit by creating and funding multiple accounts, also using a new bonus code for each of these new accounts. The challenge here is that one cannot use the same credit card or bank account for funding.

And that’s where the wallets come in. For bonus abuse, customers would create a correspondent new e-wallet for each new account. Therefore, they have a set of wallets matching the account and then they feed them with bonus codes, do one bet and withdraw the money. Thus, the operator loses money and ends up by acquiring zero customers. The gaming operator cannot detect the scam because the wallet is a black box, which means it does not share any information with the operator about the identity of the account holder or the account’s details.

We also seek to create a trusted environment by employing technologies like device pairing and device authentication. When opening a MuchBetter account, one has to download the MuchBetter app and then the next step is verification of the phone number. We have three unique elements: the verified phone number, the trusted device and the app and they all have to be in one place for the customer to use the account and authorise the transaction. We also use biometric authentication to overcome account takeover, Man-in-the-Middle attacks, or chargeback because nothing can actually be stolen, skimmed or phished.

What does your company do that gives an upper hand compared to existing payments methods catered for the needs of the gaming industry?

MuchBetter certainly benefits from being built for the mobile era, not retrofitted to suit. We’re also the first payments platform that was built with gaming operators in mind, to solve the challenges outlined above. It’s on these issues, transaction fees, fraud and UX, that we really stand out from the competition.

We’re also a lot more agile than the incumbent payment options. This is a major plus given the speed at which things change in this industry. It’s hard for big companies to move as fast as regulatory change, so you’re seeing a lot of payments companies and operators simply opting to cease trading in regions that become problematic. This is a challenge for them, but obviously a great opportunity for us as these markets open for new entrants.

Could you give some insights into your company’s roadmap?

We will be launching the MuchBetter loyalty and reward engine shortly, which will give all MuchBetter users the chance to win cash prizes and other rewards just from using the service day-to-day. For operators, this is another great chance to drive customer loyalty, without harming their interests. For us, this will help bring MuchBetter to a wider general-purpose audience. The service has features that are suited to all online and real-world payments, not just gaming, and we want MuchBetter to become users’ preferred payment product for every situation.

This interview was first published in our Payment Methods Report 2018. The Report presents the key trends in global and regional payment methods by highlighting the innovation, challenges, and developments in the use of the most important payment methods across geographies and verticals.

About Jens Bader

Jens has a rich management background with more than 20 years of experience in the Online and Mobile Payments industry. A seasoned commercial leader, Jens recently co-founded MIR Limited, an FCA-licensed FINTECH group that develops and operates second-generation electronic money services servicing on- and offline merchants. Jens is a frequent speaker on payments and fraud-related topics worldwide. Jens holds a degree in International Business Management.

About MuchBetter

MuchBetter is the new payments app for iGaming. MuchBetter allows customers to transfer and receive funds in real-time, combining state-of-the-art mobile technology twinned with a ground breaking commercial model. MuchBetter is the equilibrium between security and customer experience and allows gaming operators to generate a significant commercial upside.

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Keywords: MuchBetter, iGaming, fraud, customer experience, payment methods, Jens Bader, mobile payments
Countries: World