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Emerging Payments

Live Gamer Deal Simplifies Pay-By-Phone Option

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Players of games from publishers working with Live Gamer Inc. will be able to bill purchases to their landline, mobile-phone or broadband accounts through a partnership the digital commerce platform provider announced this week with PaymentOne Corp.

PaymentOne’s AnyPhone option streamlines the payment process and provides security because game-players do not share credit card information. It gives the choice to enter a phone number for billing authorization. By offering one window regardless of phone number chosen, it eliminates the step of choosing a mobile or landline option.

Live Gamer already offers mobile-payment options, but with PaymentOne’s option, players who are playing on their phone may skip entering the phone number for payment since the system already recognizes the phone by its number. The option is available immediately.

The process to initiate and complete a payment takes 12 seconds, Brad Singer, PaymentOne executive vice president, tells PaymentsSource. Security is guaranteed for mobile-phone billing because the user cannot complete transactions until PaymentOne sends a text to the phone number entered with a code the user must enter to complete the purchase.

For landline-billing security, PaymentOne also asks for what it calls an “out-of-wallet” data point, such as date of birth or last four digits of the user’s Social Security number. If users choose to bill a purchase to their broadband account, PaymentOne detects the IP address and with it immediately finds the user’s account.

Many players who have access to credit cards and PayPal, the two leaders in online gaming payment methods, prefer to bill to their phone accounts because there is no exchange of credit card information, Singer contends.

The security and the ease of the transaction go a long way toward converting game-players into purchasers, survey data suggest (see story). PaymentOne commissioned Javelin Strategy and Research to do a study late last year to determine online consumer behavior. The online survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older found that 79% of respondents would spend more if given an easier and safer way to pay. Almost 60% said they would visit and buy from sites that offered a no-credit-card-necessary option.

“Our clients in general say that typically when they add these additional ways for consumer to pay, they see pretty significant jumps in subscriber acquisition and revenues on the order of 25% to 40%, sometimes 50%, because it’s so easy for the consumer to transact and there’s no issue around disclosure of credit card or financial information,” Singer says.

For game publishers, the partnership improves monetization rates, Andrew Schneider, Live Gamer president and co-founder, tells PaymentsSource. “They can now offer payment methods for a broader swath of the audience which generates higher conversion rates to monetization,” he says. “The conversion rates are going to vary from game to game and demographic to demographic. It’s hard to give a sound-bite number that says, ‘OK, it’s going to increase by X percent.’”

PaymentOne’s coverage includes 80 countries and more than 1,200 carriers. Live Gamer makes its money on software licensing and a suite of services that involve local payment negotiations. PaymentOne takes a percentage of each transaction.

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