Youth payments company Virtual Piggy has integrated with Sulake’s Habbo Hotel, a social gaming and online community for teenagers.

Users join Habbo Hotel’s gaming site by creating an online character called a Habbo. There are more than 290 million registered Habbo characters in more than 150 countries, and the site gets 10 million unique visitors each months. About 90% of the users are between 13 and 18 years old.

“Given Habbo Hotel’s massive membership of teens, Virtual Piggy is a perfect complement to our rich set of payment methods,” says Giorgo Paizanis, vice president of monetization at Helsinki-based technology company Sulake, in an Aug. 14 press release. "With this frictionless payment option in place, our younger teenage members will be able to safely transact while staying within limits set by their parents."

Users purchase Habbo Credits, an in-game currency, to buy furniture, clothes and other items for their Habbo character. Sulake also accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club cards, as well as PayPal and stored-value cards. It also lets players bill purchases to their mobile phone provider.

For Virtual Piggy, which enables young people to make payments within parameters set by their parents, the partnership is an opportunity to move deeper into online gaming, a category that’s a major “friction point,” says Jo Webber, CEO and founder of Virtual Piggy, in the release. “Virtual Piggy provides Habbo Hotel with a parent-approved transaction mechanism for their users and will help age gate the community to ensure players are over 13,” Webber says.

Online games are drawing more attention from payments companies. American Express this week began offering a prepaid card that provides rewards to players of League of Legends, a popular online battle arena game. Amex has also offered rewards to players of Microsoft's popular Halo 4 shooter for the Xbox 360 and to players of Farmville, a prominent Facebook game by Zynga. 

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