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Opinion: The importance of alternative payment methods in emerging markets

13th December 2022 11:06 am GMT

AstroPay chief commercial officer Sara Rita discusses the importance of providing alternative payment methods for iGaming operators

No doubt, the pandemic has had a massive impact on the payments industry as people’s usage of digital payment methods increased exponentially, and companies accelerated their efforts to develop and launch digital first platforms.

In emerging markets, we have seen an increase in the number of local solutions in each country. Whether it is more account-to-account solutions or digital wallets, there are more and more local players that are capturing a good share of the local market with their ‘alternative payment methods’ (APMs).

As one of the most popular methods to make payments virtually, digital wallets’ usage has increased year-on-year which projects that cashless transactions will double by 2030 in Latam. This unprecedented growth of mobile wallets is expected to keep the trajectory.

International iGaming companies recognise the importance of providing their customers local payment solutions that they are familiar with and trust. But sourcing and offering these solutions is challenging. Identifying all the major payment options in each country, understanding their solution, closing a contract with them, and going through the integration process requires a significant investment of time and resources.

Also, iGaming companies’ payments divisions are more often than not operating with a slim structure. On the other hand, navigating through the financial regulations on a global scale is not an easy task which is why merchants should partner with global established players that have been successfully operating for years in this ever-changing landscape.

Having a partner that gives access to a user base of several millions as well as providing local payment solutions globally, through one integration and one contract is a great way for merchants to scale fast and optimise internal resources. And this is where AstroPay comes in. Operating in both mature and emerging markets, it is well versed with supporting merchants’ needs and priorities.

Partnering with trusted payments providers when it comes to expanding into new markets is crucial to provide the best user experience, increase conversion rate, simplify reporting and reconciliation, and provide a secure and fast payment option at the checkout.

Offering a wide range of alternative payments methods is also key to engaging a new demographic of users. In our experience, as soon as a new APM is added to the cashier, there is a fresh stream of users and volume coming through. This is especially true for solutions like AstroPay since it brings a community of millions of users together with its payment processing capabilities.

APMs play an important role in fostering financial inclusion helping the unbanked to partake in the online commerce. Latin America harbours approximately 300 million digital buyers, a figure forecast to grow over 20 percent by 2025. In the region, characterised by a high unbanked number of adults, cash transactions still predominate, although smartphone and internet penetration has increased, and the use of digital wallets and contactless mobile payments has become popular among consumers.

Various countries in Latin America have adapted and innovated to develop APMs to accommodate those without access to financial services. A relevant example would be our Mastercard or Visa cards that users can get instantly and for free to shop online or in stores.

AstroPay has over 200 payment methods as part of its solution, and it covers Latin America, Asia, Africa and the UK. Its technical platform can be used to offer these APMs as individual direct solutions on merchant’s cashiers, and/or as a way to its millions of users to upload funds in their AstroPay wallet. One simple integration gives access to all markets.

With more than 13 years of experience in helping merchants and users with their evolving needs, AstroPay has acquired in-depth knowledge of the challenges and opportunities for customers, which is why it’s well placed to deliver innovative solutions to merchants and end users.

As an agile fintech company, the team is deeply committed to its clients, supporting their demands for a payment solution that can help them grow their business globally and reach customers in new markets.

Sara Rita currently serves as chief commercial officer for AstroPay, a leading digital wallet in emerging markets.

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