A month after we wrote about PayNearMe’s new option for Facebook users to pay for Credits at their local 7-Eleven, the company’s business plan has become significantly more official: it’s announcing the launch of a full platform today, along with partnerships with virtual currency company Super Rewards, Friendster owner MOL, Amazon.com, Lexicon and several financial services.
PayNearMe’s solution, aimed at people without credit cards or other electronic payment methods, is pretty simple. Users who can’t pay online can now choose how many Credits they want to buy, print out a receipt, and visit their nearest 7-Eleven to pay in cash.
Although people without access to traditional electronic payment aren’t always visible online, they’re a market worth $1.3 trillion annually, according to chief executive Danny Shader. “We’re trying to make it easier for that other quarter of the country to conduct transactions,” he says.
That group is certainly visible to Facebook app developers, who have been reaching out to teens through companies like Rixty, which sells virtual currency through Coinstar machines in supermarkets.
Over time, PayNearMe hopes to expand to even more services. “Our growth strategy is dependent on signing up additional interesting merchants, and having those merchants inform consumers that they can pay this way,” says Shader. “In most cases, we’re better, faster and cheaper than all the alternative ways this audience can pay.”
That plan could also be good for the growth of virtual currency and games driven by micro-transactions. Ease of payment is often the biggest obstacle for users, and each new option can help grow the market considerably.