In an exclusive interview with Games Magazine Brazil, Leonardo Chaves, our Country Manager in Brazil, states that success in the competitive Brazilian payments market requires cutting-edge innovation and deep localization. With this in mind, the company offers to the market a complete portfolio of its own services that include a powerful PIX solution, but also having a 360 approach, OKTO offers Managed Payment Services with multiple benefits for operators in Brazil and an innovative eVoucher payment solution, OKTO.CASH.
GMB: OKTO has established itself throughout Europe as a secure payment platform and successfully entered Brazil around a year ago. How did the company localise its solutions to serve the Brazilian market, and what were the main challenges?
LC: LatAm as well as Europe and the UK are markets that play an important role for OKTO and we have strategic business development plans in every country, considering its culture and creating bespoke localized solutions. Our solutions are not one-size-fits-all – the same applies to Brazil. Success in the competitive Brazilian payments market requires cutting-edge innovation and deep localization. We work closely with local authorities, analyze the directives via our local and international legal, compliance and product teams and prepare solutions that meet the regulatory requirements, but also automate and digitalize them.
And while compliance with both payment and gaming authorities is non-negotiable, our focus is on the user. Customer experience and engagement represent core challenges in the Brazilian market. The key here is delivering player convenience via solutions that are characterized by speed, security, and support. Fundamentally we have set up our solutions in a powerful payment platform that’s been built with two foundation stones – compliance and customer experience. Therefore, the delivery of seamless and frictionless payment journeys is non-negotiable for us, and we are making this feasible via an in-depth understanding of the unique culture and payment preferences. We draw on the insight of our local team in Brazil who provide knowledge and expertise across both gaming and payments and are fully powered by OKTO’s international team.
GMB: The company designed a powerful PIX payments solution for this market. Which are its main features?
LC: OKTO has designed a powerful PIX payments solution for merchants courtesy of a restful API integration that enables online payment processing in a fast and convenient way for merchants while ensuring a flawless customer experience for their users. Cross Border is also part of our offering and is combined with OKTO’s PIX service, powering the growth of our merchants and partners in and out of Brazil in a safe, secure, and fast way. The excellent customer payment experience, the real-time nature of our payment methods along with no failures in the completion of transactions are the perfect blend of all our solutions.
What OKTO does is more than PIX, we manage and operate payments, providing new features and services to Brazilian merchants to take advantage of 360o payments operations instead of simple PIX execution. It’s our duty to support merchants and consumers with the right tools for payments, reducing friction and increasing security to drive conversions and loyalty. We operate our payment solutions, by actively handling responsible gaming, chargebacks, and dropped transactions, on top of already boasting the highest success (conversion) rates in the market today.
GMB: How does OKTO get this unique solution to allow merchants to process payments quickly and conveniently online while ensuring an impeccable customer experience for their users?
LC: We are successfully innovating across the entire supply chain; thus, we can drive down the cost of any operator, without compromising the quality of service. And, of course, we make sure that all funds across all payment methods are aggregated and therefore combined into a single liquidity pool that makes deposits and withdrawals fast and easy to manage.
Our mission is to continuously deliver payment services via our payment platform focused on security, reliability, innovation, and the seamless integration of a variety of global and local payment forms and factors. In this way, we support all payment transactions in their ability to remain frictionless for consumers and in real-time, meeting the different demands of various end-users generations.
We recently launched a series of what we call Managed Payment Services, exactly with this mission in mind, that unlocks multiple benefits for our operators’ partners in Brazil.
GMB: Can you please elaborate further on the Managed Payment Services? What are the differentials and advantages of the digital payment services provided by OKTO compared to other payment providers? What other services are offered by OKTO in Brazil?
LC: As stated, OKTO goes beyond PIX offering and execution, we manage and operate payments with a 360º approach. It’s our “More to PIX than PIX” approach. We are listening to our local and international partners in Brazil and innovating with services that meet their needs. These include a function that enables merchants to hedge their BRL position via money-market funds and SELIC-based returns, leading to the protection of their funds from currency fluctuations.
In addition, we empower our merchant partners and their users with a 24/7 local customer support service, a fully dedicated support team based in Brazil with an extensive experience in betting, gaming, and insurance markets. For us at OKTO, it’s not only mandatory to deeply understand the market conditions and challenges, but also to be supported by a local team and partners that are used to playing in the region, and this is exactly what OKTO built in Brazil.
Going one step further, we designed a complete back-office tool providing not only reporting but also market statistics and intelligence across banks, demographics, and tech KPIs.
We also recently launched our “Card as a Service” offering. Via this service we enable our operator partners to link their users’ accounts to their own branded Mastercard which comes hand in hand with the card trend, ranking in the 2nd position of preferred payment methods in the region.
Security is another part of the equation that is a foundation stone. In this respect, our team designed a complete set of KYC and AML solutions to support further merchants in the Region,
GMB: Does OKTO have consistent identity validation mechanisms, KYC and responsible gaming policies implemented on its platform?
LC: Safer gambling is a central plank of the OKTO system which is fully aligned with requirements set out by Gaming Regulators across the world. Designed to protect both players and operators, OKTO is fully equipped to follow local regulatory demands, ensuring operators remain compliant and uphold the highest standards of social responsibility.
The new features OKTO launched in its payment platform, are fully in line with this, as we comply with the most stringent security standards, comprising a full KYC preregistration via 1st deposit – a pay-and-play approach, Real-time checks for underage and deceased CPFs, Active restrictions on a mismatch between registered and depositing CPF as well as Dynamic management of Bloqueio Cautelar and customer disputes.
Our bank-level privacy and security policy ensures protection against misuse. Additionally, transactions made via OKTO are automatically verified to prevent fraudulent conduct and we process all payment solutions in accordance with the Brazilian legal framework, hence security cannot be missed from the backbone of our solutions.
GMB: OKTO also offers OKTO.CASH, in which the customer gets the online experience but completes the transaction offline with cash. We would like to know how this method works.
LC: Brazil has been living a payment revolution since the implementation of PIX and more now are coming with Open Finance but is traditionally a cash-driven economy with cash still accounting for a significant share of total payment transaction volumes. Cash-based payment methods in Brazil dominate, and OKTO.CASH meets exactly that demand and habit of users. In regions, where the service has already been activated for quite a long time now, the method is characterized as the fastest way to load online accounts with cash. It’s an innovative eVoucher solution that is fully aligned with online merchants’ vision to deliver an entirely seamless and frictionless topping-up process via an embedded solution in operators’ sites or apps. Users can load their online account with cash in real-time at the nearest point of sale from OKTO’s constantly growing network. OKTO.CASH modernises the payment experience, making it faster, easier, safer, and more compliant.
As such, it’s the ideal solution for cash-oriented online consumers. Fully aligned with the Brazilian legislation we tailored our well-established solution to provide a fully compliant service without reducing its quality, offering the most seamless solution on the market.
GMB: Does Brazil have characteristics that are very different from those existing in the markets where OKTO is present?
LC: Brazil is one of the largest consumer markets in South America and an excellent market for experienced payment providers like OKTO. It possesses a diversified economy and the region’s payment industry has changed significantly over the last 10 years. Although cash and cash-based methods are still the most used payment method by the Brazilian population, other methods, digital ones, are increasingly used, according to studies published by the Brazilian Central Bank, with cards ranking 2nd.
The dynamic nature of the payment industry environment makes Brazil a fertile ground for the development of new and innovative tools and for the innovative application of preexisting technologies. This is exactly the trend that we are seeing in most European countries as well as in other markets in LatAm. In many cases, we are seeing that Brazil has an even faster development when it comes to digital payments compared to some markets in Europe. Of course, always you will face nuances in culture and payment habits that you need to meet and always you need to understand and meet the regional regulatory complexities and actively engage with local regulators to discuss with them and bring them up to speed about what is available in the payments technology. So yes, there are differences, but our approach is always the same – our local teams are vital – understand the cultural and regulatory requirements in each individual market. We have the expertise that’s required to navigate these areas and translate them into secure digital payments for online and retail gaming.