Sports bettors may only think a little about the screens they hop between to deposit money in their sportsbook accounts. However, several companies put a great deal of thought into it. Bettors may recognize one of them, PayNearMe, as the cash deposit option at some bettors’ sportsbooks. However, PayNearMe announced a slew of new online payment options that are a big deal for sportsbooks. Having many payment options in one place will make it cheaper for sportsbooks to provide these options to bettors.
However, PayNearMe also released features that will surprise bettors. PayNearMe can push funds to a bettor’s debit card within minutes. (Bettors still have to wait for their sportsbook to approve the withdrawal, but this innovation can take a day off the withdrawal process.) PayNearMe can also let sportsbooks send bettors a link to deposit or cash in new bonuses. PayNearMe can even create a pass in the Apple Wallet that lets bettors make sportsbook deposits from their Apple Wallets.
We spoke to PayNearMe’s Chief Revenue Officer, Michael Kaplan, to better understand:
- The scope of these innovations
- What they mean for sportsbooks
- What they mean for bettors
Breaking Down PayNearMe’s New Innovations
PayNearMe has released several new features based on technologies that bettors may not understand immediately. Some of these new options will be intuitive. Others won’t. But the three main ones we’ll cover are the:
- New electronic payment options
- Disbursement capability
- Smart Link technology
Each of these has important consequences for sportsbooks and offers unique conveniences for bettors.
Electronic Payment Options
The first major innovation PayNearMe offers the sportsbook market is offering the full gamut of electronic deposit options. That means instead of only offering in-person cash deposits, PayNearMe can offer many online deposit options, too. “In the past, what we’ve been focused on is the ability to pay cash at retail at one of our 7/11 or Family Dollar or CVS [locations,]” says CRO Michael Kaplan. “We have now expanded the platform to not only allow us to capture retail but all forms of payment–credit, debit, ACH, Apple Pay, Google Pay.”
That’s an important innovation because it puts all those payment options under one roof–a quality sportsbooks especially appreciate. “It reduces costs for operators,” Kaplan says. “It makes it easier for them to get to market faster and simplifies their operations generally.”
With fewer relationships to manage, sportsbooks can save money and direct resources elsewhere. While this isn’t the first time PayNearMe has offered electronic payments, it is the first time they’re offering them to the gaming industry. “We’ve been working in the electronic payments space for a while now in other vertical markets,” says Kaplan. “And [we’ve] made modifications, we’ve set up platforms to make [our products] applicable to the gaming space.”
But bettors may be most interested in the Apple and Google Pay deposit options. Bettors who’ve used Apple Pay before will recognize how easy it is to use.
“You go to checkout, you have an Apple Pay option,” says Kaplan. “You click on the Apple Pay option, and we drop you right into the ‘how much do you want to deposit’ [section.]” But the images illustrate the simplicity better than any of us can:
So, the meat of PayNearMe’s announcement takes care of sportsbooks. But the other two innovations are all about the customer.
If bettors have ever been irritated by long withdrawal times, then they should pay attention to PayNearMe’s new disbursement capability. Or in layman’s terms, refunding a debit card super quick. However, this technology has been around for a while. Bettors may have even encountered it at other businesses.
“This is a piece of functionality we’ve also had live in other markets,” says Kaplan. “Where, essentially, a company needs to push money–whether it be a loan disbursement or a refund or something of that nature–back to the customer. [Companies] can leverage the debit card rails and through our interface, push money to a customer.”
However, this same technology can be used to speed sportsbook withdrawals along. Within a few minutes of the sportsbook’s approval, the withdrawal can go back to a bettor’s debit card. However, bettors have to deposit with a debit card to take advantage of this feature.
Long story short, this feature gives faster withdrawal times to bettors who fund their sportsbook accounts with debit cards.
Smart Link Technology
This is the coolest new feature out of the three we’ve looked at. PayNearMe’s Smart Link technology sends bettors a link that’ll take them directly to the sportsbook’s deposit screen. “You get a text message or an email or an in-app notification with a link to deposit,” says Kaplan. However, it’s not just for bettor deposits. “[Sportsbooks] can do a matching bonus if they want. Or some other incentive to drive deposits.” This new bonus delivery method has a lot of potential for sportsbooks. It would make cashing in on bonuses seamless.
But that’s not the only thing the Smart Link technology can do. “We also have the ability to associate a pass that can be stored in your Apple Wallet,” says Kaplan. That pass allows bettors to make sportsbook deposits from their Apple Wallets. “If you had a [sportsbook] account and you chose to store that pass in your Apple Wallet, now you got a place where you can go in…and execute on a deposit right from there as opposed to navigating back to the application.”
However, these are only for depositing funds. They can’t support sportsbook withdrawals yet. Regardless, this could be an effective marketing tool for retaining bettors who either:
- Haven’t wagered in a while.
- Only wager on certain events.
This could be a marketing breakthrough for sportsbook companies. So, bettors can expect more interaction between themselves and their sportsbooks.
What About Cash?
With these major moves away from in-person cash deposits, where does cash fit into the market now? Michael Kaplan doesn’t think it’ll ever disappear. “We don’t necessarily have concrete data on this,” says Kaplan. “But we estimate it to be somewhere around 5%.”
Cards, however, take up much more wallet share. “Card probably makes up 25-30%, if not more,” says Kaplan. “We think that number will continue to grow. And then over time, as we add additional pieces of functionality, we would expect to be the significant majority of payment volume through an operator that was using our platform.” So PayNearMe has a goal of offering most of the deposit options that bettors use. If debit and credit cards become more popular deposit options, PayNearMe could accomplish that goal in the future. But don’t expect the company to abandon cash deposits, either.
“We think cash will always hold its own because of some of the unique attributes of cash in terms of privacy,” says Kaplan. “So, cash could remain an irreducible constant in the sportsbook deposit market.” However, debit and credit cards could grow into the gaming market’s dominant deposit options. PayNearMe expects cards to become more popular deposit methods. By offering competitive card payment options for sportsbooks and their bettors, PayNearMe has set lofty goals for itself.
“If gaming looks like most markets, we would expect the majority–75-80% or more–of payments coming through our platform,” says Kaplan. “That takes some time. It won’t happen tomorrow. But long-term that’s what we would expect.”
That’s an ambitious goal. But if more bettors use debit and credit cards for their sportsbook deposits, PayNearMe could run most of a sportsbook’s deposits through its platform. They just have to hope the gaming market moves in their favor.
What’s Next For PayNearMe?
PayNearMe may have just released a slew of new payment, deposit, and withdrawal features. However, the company also has new innovations coming down the pipe.
“We’re also doing some things from a native SDK perspective,” says Kaplan. “And that’s something we’ll release later this year.”
Native software development kits are useful tools for any company. They’re bundles of software that allow companies to create their own applications to use with a provider’s program. For example, Apple has a native SDK that lets developers build apps that work with Apple. PayNearMe’s native SDK would let sportsbooks build payment portals however they wanted. Instead of relying on PayNearMe’s deposit and withdrawal apps, sportsbooks could create their own to work with PayNearMe’s software.
“They’ll be able to manage that experience a little bit more closely instead of popping out to a separate experience,” says Kaplan. “And that’ll be for mobile [on] iOS and Android.”
Everything In PayNearMe’s Latest Release
We’ve covered a lot, but the short version is that PayNearMe has released several new features for its sportsbook clients. They include:
- New electronic deposit and withdrawal options.
- Fast disbursement of funds to debit card users.
- Smart Link technology that can send bettors directly to sportsbook wallets and let them deposit from Apple Wallet.
As PayNearMe continues growing, it expects card deposits to increase, and it’s positioned itself to capitalize on that trend. The company is also working on a software kit that will let sportsbooks take even more control of the payment process. Even though bettors may not think about the companies that make deposits and withdrawals happen, those companies are busy behind the scenes. And even though bettors may not know PayNearMe by name, they’ll soon recognize the company’s influence in their sportsbooks.