The UK Gambling Commission ban on the use of credit cards has challenged consumers and businesses, seeking to adapt to the new requirements.
On April 14th, the new UKGC ban came into effect, prohibiting the use of credit cards to top-up online gambling accounts: the measure was instituted in an effort to mitigate financial risks for consumers and prevent them from gambling with the money they do not possess. The new regulation challenged some of the prevalent consumer habits and pushed payment vendors to expand the scope of their services.
Agnė Selemonaitė, Deputy CEO at ConnectPay, shared her insights on the impact it had for both sides of the market.
Impact for payment service providers
According to Ms. Selemonaitė, current changes the industry is going through will affect not only the bettors’ spending habits, but also payment gateway providers, aiming to supply the market with flexible, as well as compliant, solutions.
“Our focus has always been on being proactive towards any new developments in the market. That’s why even amidst lockdown we pivoted towards integrating more payment methods into our Merchant API to provide gambling vendors with more options to facilitate payments,” explained A. Selemonaitė.
According to Selemonaitė, more and more gambling sites are getting into partnerships with payment service providers, seeking to streamline settlements for their regular bettors and provide a greater on-site experience. As ConnectPay aims to continue growing its payments selection, Selemonaitė encourages operators to look into how leveraging diverse solutions could help better match their clients expectations.
As the opinions on the policy are two-fold, A. Selemonaitė noted that every decision, with the goal of mitigating risks for consumers, should be a welcomed initiative. That said, it is important that alternative solutions rolled out into the market would meet both vendor and consumer needs, but with added safety, while being compliant with the new measures. “In order for business to welcome new measures, regulators need to stay focused on setting up such an environment that fosters the development of a holistic system and doesn’t hinder scaling opportunities,” she added.
What are the alternatives for consumers?
The operators’ commitment to enable clients to continue enjoying their favorite pastime while spending within reason led betters to get accustomed with various other payment options.
Visa and Mastercard debit cards
Using a debit card is almost identical to using a credit card, with the main difference that with the prior, the funds are taken directly from the checking bank account, rather than being charged to a line of credit to be paid for later. This ensures that the bettors themselves verify payments, and help protect the account from scammers’ malicious intent.
Many providers, such as ConnectPay, issue prepaid cards, which, unlike debit, are not linked to a bank account to draw money from. Instead, the customer is spending money that has been loaded onto the card beforehand. Prepaid cards are limited by default, therefore one can only access the amount of funds that have already been vouched for.
Although the credit card ban extends to e-wallets, they can still be used for gambling-related payments with the exception that the service does not support credit lending. Similar to prepaid cards, e-wallets require money to be loaded prior to any transaction. It is an appealing alternative as it offers faster payouts and enables switching back and forth between different gambling sites with ease.
Another method to deposit money is using a cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin. It provides total anonymity, as no personal details are shared with the site, making it one of the most secure alternatives. Although many do not understand the inner workings of the crypto industry, it remains a viable option for all tech-savvy betters.
Even though some may still be unconvinced about the necessity of the new legislation, it is shaping up to be a sound solution, which could lead to heightened industry transparency, as well as provide consumers with more payment options to choose from. However, its true impact on the industry will show only after some time.