PaymentPin Brings Landline, VoIP Options to In-Game Payments

PaymentPin is a phone-based payment service, out of Montréal, Quebec, that is aiming to take on larger companies including Zong and Boku in the market for in-game payments for virtual goods. All three offer a way for users to buy items in applications through charging their accounts with their phone service providers. But PaymentPin has a twist that others don’t, at least at this point.

It lets users bill to their landlines and on voice over internet telephone (VoIP) services, not just through mobile devices. While neither of these features is impossible for competitors to duplicate, PaymentPin is one of the first services we know of that has made them available to gamers. But wait, given the fact that more and more people are ditching their landlines, why focus on anything but mobile?


There are more than 100 million land line owners in the US alone, PaymentPin chief executive Malik Yacoubi tells us. His company is making $16 per land-line user versus $6 per mobile user. Overall, half its revenue are from land lines and half from mobile, even though only around 25 percent of transactions are derived from the former.

The company has developed its expertise in land-line billing over the last four years. It started out offering a web-based service for a Quebec reality show — to see what was happening the attic of the reality show, viewers had to go to a web site and pay. PaymentPin was the land-line billing option; it offers its own 1-900 number service, billing by charging the user for the call. The company has since expanded in the US and Canada.

And in North America, it has a few things going for it. For example, in the US, billing amounts are limited to $10 for mobile but $35 for land lines. Fees can also favor land-lines. Publishers can only take home around 50 percent of revenues through mobile payments in the US, but up to 72 percent from land lines.

VoIP, another option the company offers, has not to our knowledge been a common way for people to buy things like virtual goods. But perhaps, as more and more mobile phones enable VoIP, this will change.

Overall, for gaming companies with a lot of users in the North America, PaymentPin is an interesting option, even though it overlaps with some of what its rivals already offer. It works with many of the same payment processors as Boku and Zong, for example. Perhaps the additional phone lines can mean more revenue? The company also offers a dashboard for publishers of revenue coming in from its various types of phone billing, so one can compare how mobile is stacking up against the other options.

PaymentPin started looking into social gaming around a year ago, and has since cut deals with gaming network MochiMedia, dating site LavaLife, and social network Tagged. It only offers the land line service in Canada and the US, although its mobile service is also available in Europe and Australia. On Facebook, it is beginning to work with AdParlor, but Yacoubi adds that many more deals are in the works.