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Success in Africa: How to be a game-changer with cross-border payments

| By Katrina Holmes | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Operators looking to expand their reach into new regions face a multitude of challenges prior to launch. One that holds unique weight is how to accurately streamline cross-border payments that adapt to regional nuances. So how can operators ensure their platform offers a standout payment solution in the exciting African market? For Jonathan Vintner, PayRetailers’ global head of sales, the key to success is adaptability.

Working across a global playing field, operators find themselves needing to adapt quickly to new markets. With the recent flurry of attention in Latin America (LatAm) where the likes of Peru, Brazil and Argentina have begun licensing for online gambling, operators have been vying for a slice of the already impressive revenue of $21bn achieved in 2023 which is projected to increase to $54bn by 2026.

Alongside the big push for the LatAm market, the industry is turning its attentions to Africa, with revenue predictions looking more and more positive for operators. With the likes of Kenya housing around 7 million people with sports betting accounts and Rwanda achieving annual revenue of $15.5m in 2023 alone, is it any wonder why operators are looking to penetrate this lucrative market?

Navigating regional payment methods

“Having spent almost a decade leading the payments scene in Latin America, we are well-prepared to transfer our international approach and readiness to Africa.”

Much like in LatAm, Africa is proving to have country-to-country player preferences and legislation, with operators facing the challenge of having to localise their portfolio to each specific market.

At the forefront of this localisation is payments. Like all regions, African bettors have preferences that span both the wider region and at a more local level causing the bigger challenge of giving players access to the payment methods they want.

Vintner believes that operators should take key learnings from the LatAm market and use them to their advantage in Africa.

“In Latin America, we have learned how to navigate a variety of payment options, levels of financial inclusion, and cultural nuances to provide our merchants with a unified solution. The region’s diversity and complexities have made us more adaptable and future-ready, as each new payment method and challenge requires a new solution.

“We can’t wait to apply this adaptable approach in Africa, where we expect to encounter similar differences in financial infrastructures and payment methods between countries.

“With payment methods as one key area where we have already observed disparities, we are keen to use our borderless approach to unify payment solutions for merchants looking to go live in Africa.”

Regional preferences within Africa

“Preferred payment methods vary across the region; a challenge that we’re ready to tackle by striving to offer as many payment methods as possible.”

For operators, offering a streamlined and borderless approach to payments always tops the checklist when launching in a new market. But Vintner believes this isn’t always achievable without understanding the specifics of player preferences such as mobile gambling adoption.

“East Africa is very mobile-heavy, with one example being the popularity of Safaricom’s M-Pesa in Kenya, or the wide coverage provided by Airtel Money. What makes these two payment methods even stronger is the ability to transfer money from Airtel Money to M-Pesa accounts and vice versa, giving individuals more choice surrounding how they send their money.

“While mobile payments dominate in East Africa, cash, bank transfers, and cards are mainstream across West Africa and vary in usage from country-to-country. Cash also remains popular in South Africa; however, many individuals rely more heavily on card payments.”

Scaling up in a new region like Africa

“In addition to our adaptable approach and advanced technology, in LatAm we strive to mitigate the risk for our clients. We do so by working tirelessly to obtain licenses that allow us to operate in our full capacity in the countries we serve.”

For Vintner, the key to successfully scaling up within a new region is building relationships at a local level and embracing all local opportunities presented.

For new operators, the first step is to research potential growth opportunities, but equally to find and build the best partnerships that may provide useful industry insights. Working with an expert in cross region payments can help to drive this and give operators an immediate impact on the market.

Vintner explains, “Undertaking research is time consuming and can be confusing as to where to begin and who to communicate with.”

“In addition to researching the payment methods our merchants will want to use in Africa, we prepared for our launch by visiting the region and cultivating relationships with new connections at industry events. Our aim was to discover how we can help merchants get their foot in the door and scale their business.”

“Having established ourselves as a leading payment processor in Latin America, we couldn’t be more excited to dip our toes into the African market and strive for the same heights. We are confident that, with time, our adaptable approach, and our unique technology, we’ll be able to help our clients launch prosperous operations in Africa.”

LatAm to Africa: Transferring success into new markets

Operators looking to successfully penetrate a new and unique market such as Africa will benefit from working with an established payments expert with experience from other unique regions. With successful partnerships achieved, PayRetailers can draw upon the knowledge gained in countries with new and evolving gambling legislation to support partners in mitigating potential challenges or stumbling blocks.  

PayRetailers’ platform allows end users to deposit their money quickly, using their local payment method, and then withdraw their funds easily when they need them. Igaming operators who use our services are then able to settle their customers’ funds quickly and at a very low cost.

“The complexities that lie behind payments won’t cross many customers’ minds – until something goes wrong or things slow down. Merchants who use our products can offer their customers an easy, frictionless payment experience, shielding them from the slow, troublesome payments that lead them to go elsewhere.”

Attracting and retaining new players

Supporting a broad range of payment options so players can stay loyal to their banking preferences is an easy win for operators looking to attract and retain players in a new market.

Vintner is confident of PayRetailers’ ability to provide a streamlined payment offering for operators looking to launch in Africa, with its host of unique audiences and specific legislative requirements through a single integration system.

PayRetailers offers simplicity, scalability, and flexibility to operators in the African market.

“This guarantee is bolstered by almost a decade of experience in cross-border payments, during which we have paved the way for numerous Latin American businesses to strive for international success.

“Our single API offers something truly unique, as we’re able to consolidate an operator’s payments on one single platform. As we incorporate more and more payment methods and enter new countries, our merchants gain access to new markets and continue to benefit from this single integration.”

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