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Yuval Ziv, COO, SafeCharge International

Yuval Ziv, COO of SafeCharge, a leader in advanced payment technologies discusses trends in payment technology for casual games.

Yuval Ziv, COO, SafeCharge International

Yuval Ziv, COO, SafeCharge International

The way people play, and pay for games, is rapidly changing, as technology advances. Games that were traditionally played on consoles are now moving towards browsers and mobile devices. Many new game developers are uploading to the Cloud, and developing games purely for the mobile market and social sites. Social content is also rapidly changing and developing to fit also the mobile devices experience.

Gamers like to be able to download games for free, with payment only starting in order to access certain characters/additional features/higher levels within a game. New methods of payments are also being developed in order to fit the needs of mobile gamers, including alternative payment methods such as promotions, coins and more.

Audiences have changed. Die-hard gamers and teenage males who used consoles have been joined by a much wider mobile audience, including more women and children, many brought to the phenomena by casual and social  games such as Candy Crush.  When payments managers are asked about their primary audiences, they now mention women between 30 and 40 years old in addition to the traditional gamers.

As games develop and change, then so must the payment methods. Payment methods need to be consistently better and safer to make the payment process quick and easy for both players and merchants and seamless for the players. Flexibility and ease of use with solid security measures in place are key for consumers.

So what is the difference between the mobile/web browser and an app for payments?

Both are available on the mobile and both of them have similar definitions – both are capable of offering almost the same playing experience to the user. The app is something that needs to be downloaded in order to use it. The mobile browser doesn’t need to be downloaded and is used via the web interface.

The move to mobile games and the growth of apps is continuing. The possibilities of anytime, anywhere playing of your favourite game are very appealing however can an app offer the best payment solution or does a web view payment option ultimately offer more flexibility and more security for gamers and merchants?

Although apps are seen as the future by many, there are still obvious advantages to a web view payment solution:

  • A mobile site has better customisation flexibility. If any changes are made, e.g. adding of payment methods or updating a feature, it is very user-friendly as the merchant does not have to do anything as it is all updated automatically.
  • With an app, the user has to do all the updating, and these updates must first be approved by, and uploaded by the manufacturer to the Google App store or Apple App Store. This can take time as changes have to be checked thoroughly and only once approved can they be implemented. The updates then have to be downloaded by the user, which does not always happen.
  • Vital security updates could be delayed with an app but would happen automatically with a mobile site as the games manufacturer is in charge of the website.
  • A mobile site is available across multiple digital platforms, such as tablets, mobiles etc. and is a cheaper option for the gamer, since the major app vendors take a sizeable percentage of the games manufacturer’s revenue.

An app is often the best option for high performance games as it provides more functionality and speed, for example if the camera feature is needed for a game. It can also be more secure, for example with the use of tokenisation and/or biometrics. The web browser is compatible with more devices, and is cheaper for the manufacturer to implement as it is not making commission payments to the app stores. A mobile site is also cheaper to develop than an app and also can support more payment methods, such as alternative payment methods and multiple currencies.

A games manufacturer should use a payment provider who is capable of supporting both apps and browser versions to make sure that they get the optimum product support.   Sometimes it is best to use a web browser to begin with and then move to an app as the game becomes more sophisticated.

SafeCharge offers solutions for iOS and Android: the Android SDK and the new solution “Web View” which is like an IFrame for mobile Apps – both for Android and iOS.


Bank of England’s Haldane says inflation “tiger” is prowling



Bank of England's Haldane says inflation "tiger" is prowling 1

By Andy Bruce and David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane warned on Friday that an inflationary “tiger” had woken up and could prove difficult to tame as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially requiring the BoE to take action.

In a clear break from other members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who are more relaxed about the outlook for consumer prices, Haldane called inflation a “tiger (that) has been stirred by the extraordinary events and policy actions of the past 12 months”.

“People are right to caution about the risks of central banks acting too conservatively by tightening policy prematurely,” Haldane said in a speech published online. “But, for me, the greater risk at present is of central bank complacency allowing the inflationary (big) cat out of the bag.”

Haldane’s comments prompted British government bond prices to fall to their lowest level in almost a year and sterling to rise as he warned that investors may not be adequately positioned for the risk of higher inflation or BoE rates.

“There is a tangible risk inflation proves more difficult to tame, requiring monetary policymakers to act more assertively than is currently priced into financial markets,” Haldane said.

He pointed to the BoE’s latest estimate of slack in Britain’s economy, which was much smaller and likely to be less persistent than after the 2008 financial crisis, leaving less room for the economy to grow before generating price pressures.

Haldane also cited a glut of savings built by businesses and households during the pandemic that could be unleashed in the form of higher spending, as well as the government’s extensive fiscal response to the pandemic and other factors.

Disinflationary forces could return if risks from COVID-19 or other sources proved more persistent than expected, he said.

But in Haldane’s judgement, inflation risked overshooting the BoE’s 2% target for a sustained period – in contrast to its official forecasts published early this month that showed only a very small overshoot in 2022 and early 2023.

Haldane’s comments put him at the most hawkish end among the nine members of the MPC.

Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden on Friday said risks to UK inflation were broadly balanced.

“I see inflation expectations – whatever measure you look at – well anchored,” Ramsden said following a speech given online, echoing comments from fellow deputy governor Ben Broadbent on Wednesday.

(Editing by Larry King and John Stonestreet)


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Bitcoin slumps 6%, heads for worst week since March



Bitcoin slumps 6%, heads for worst week since March 2

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin fell over 6% on Friday to its lowest in two weeks as a rout in global bond markets sent yields flying and sparked a sell-off in riskier assets.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency slumped as low as $44,451 before recovering most of its losses. It was last trading down 1.2% at $46,525, on course for a drop of almost 20% this week, which would be its heaviest weekly loss since March last year.

The sell-off echoed that in equity markets, where European stocks tumbled as much as 1.5%, with concerns over lofty valuations also hammering demand. Asian stocks fell by the most in nine months.

“When flight to safety mode is on, it is the riskier investments that get pulled first,” Denis Vinokourov of London-based cryptocurrency exchange BeQuant wrote in a note.

Bitcoin has risen about 60% from the start of the year, hitting an all-time high of $58,354 this month as mainstream companies such as Tesla Inc and Mastercard Inc embraced cryptocurrencies.

Its stunning gains in recent months have led to concerns from investment banks over sky-high valuations and calls from governments and financial regulators for tighter regulation.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Tom Wilson; editing by Dhara Ranasinghe, Karin Strohecker, William Maclean)

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Britain sets out blueprint to keep fintech ‘crown’ after Brexit



Britain sets out blueprint to keep fintech 'crown' after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Brexit, COVID-19 and overseas competition are challenging fintech’s future, and Britain should act to stay competitive for the sector, a government-backed review said on Friday.

Britain’s departure from the European Union has cut the sector’s access to the world’s biggest single market, making the UK less attractive for fintechs wanting to expand cross-border.

The review headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, sets out a “strategy and delivery model” that includes a new billion pound start-up fund and fast-tracking work visas for hiring the best talent globally.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

“This review will make an important contribution to our plan to retain the UK’s fintech crown,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said, adding the government will respond in due course.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

Britain increasingly needs to represent itself as a strong fintech scale-up destination as well as one for start-ups, it added.

The review recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” Swinburne said.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Hugh Lawson and Jason Neely)

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