Johan Mayer – our payment platform build mainly for sportsbetting

Wallettec Founder and CEO Johan Mayer spoke exclusively with Adeleye Awakan on the brand reach in Africa what distinguished the brand from its competitors and the step the brand is taking to partner regulators in Africa as well as the service it offers to betting companies in Africa.

Adeleye Awakan: Brief description about your background?

Johan Meyer: I am a seasoned entrepreneur, innovator, inventor and software developer with a vast experience in mobile and banking industry having started in the banking and financial service industry at Merrill Lynch, Bank of England, Standard Bank and First National Bank. He has participated in large mobile solutions for MTV, Sony, Aljazeera, Blinko and various mobile banking systems in Africa and the USA. He holds a Cambridge University Diploma in Information Technology and Sun Certification.

Adeleye Awakan: What is Wallettec all about as a brand and the service you offer?

Johan Mayer: Wallettec’s main focus is to provide a payments platform focusing mainly on the betting and gaming industry. There are a lot of payments platforms working with the gaming industry but none of them focuses purely on the gaming industry. Wallettec’s main focus is to develop a set of payment tools geared to help the gaming industry as well as the players. Most of the betting providers are operating from international countries not knowing the African landscape, not knowing the people and how Africans operate. Furthermore they have to employ staff to managing payment options, fees, floats per country; this becomes an expensive and time consuming exercise. Wallettec’s focus is to get rid of this headache and help them by taking care of all of this.

Adeleye Awakan: Where is Wallettec positioned in the gaming sector in Africa?

Johan Mayer: Wallettec is mainly working in the sports betting industry in Africa providing the industry with a solution that gives them access to all the major payment methods in each country. We know that time to market is one of the key factors to the success of any new player in this industry; we can help any betting provider to get into multiple countries in a fraction of the time, with a single integration betting companies can get access to all the available mobile money payment options across all the African countries Wallettec services. Wallettec is constantly growing our list of supported countries and all new countries are automatically added to the available payment options for all betting companies. For example you have a betting company operating in Kenya that got the license to operate in Nigeria we at wallettec we will offer the service of set up of bank account with different mobile money provider and the integrating is automatic.

Adeleye Awakan: The gaming sector in Africa currently how many betting brands can you attributed to be under Wallettec? As well as the countries that Wallettec services can be accessed?

Johan Mayer: Wallettec is currently operational with more than 10 of Africa’s biggest betting brands across 14 countries. While Wallettec is currently operational in 14 African counties and we are working with partners in multiple new countries to increase our list of countries to 20 before the end of 2020.

Adeleye Awakan: What distinguished Wallettec from other mobile payments service in Africa?

Johan Mayer: As mentioned, Wallettec focuses purely on the gaming industry. Wallettec is a platform build in Africa by a team of people who knows the different African markets. Working with our gaming clients and our local partners within each country we develop custom tools and payment channels that can help our gaming providers grow their business quickly. Unlike other operators who caters for merchants and a vast variety of other client types we develop tools for one industry, our team is focusing on one industry only.

Adeleye Awakan: So many sports betting brands are always skeptical when it comes to platform integration some platforms when you integrate with another platform its start to bring a lot of issues can you tell us how your system work with gaming platforms?

Johan Mayer: Wallettec’s differentiator is the fact that we are a local company with local representatives within each country we operate in. Unlike other payment platforms who have offices in one country while operating in multiple others. We believe in having local partners in every country. Reason why I believe this is a must is because something that works in Kenya does not always work in Nigeria. You need to be local to know what the works for the people in your country.

Secondly, Wallettec works with our customers, discussing their requirements and developing solutions what fits their needs in every country. We know one solution does not fit all, and by constantly discussing the requirements of our customer we ensure that all their needs are covered.
I believe this level of service and our ability to cater for the individual needs of our customers are what set us apart from our competitors.

Adeleye Awakan: There have been many reports about the rate of mobile penetration in Africa, and the unbanked nature of the African people. You your view what do you think can be implemented to strengthen access to mobile financial service in Africa?

Johan Mayer: I have been talking about this for many years now and till today I still believe this is a problem that can only be solved in Africa by Africa. This is not a problem that can be solved by international companies like VISA or Mastercard. People need to stop seeing financial inclusion as a means of providing people with a way to make credit/debit card payments via their mobile device. Financial inclusion is so much more than payments. Working with African companies we can provide the people of Africa with a more convenient, more cost effective way of making payments WITHOUT ever using any credit or debit card rails. Without spending or losing billions on card fraud and other card related licensing and fees. I believe Africa should start looking at Africans to provide solutions for African problems and stop expecting international players like VISA or Mastercard to solve our problems using solutions that works in the USA or Europe.

Adeleye Awakan: The COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the gaming industry from your speech most of your clients are sports betting brand. Does it have any significant effect on Wallettec? And what is wallettec doing to stay afloat?

Johan Mayer: Covid-19 has affected the industry more than I initially expected. We have seen a drop of about 40% in our monthly transaction flow. Well we spend the last month working on adding new countries to our list of supported countries; we also worked on adding new payment methods to our customers. Although as said above our income dropped but we have been able to increase in our unique monthly customers per month the growth is attributed by adding new ways for people to transact which we noticed that most of our transactions was payout/cash-out transactions and our biggest reduction was in deposits.

Adeleye Awakan: A report by TECHNAVIO states online gaming markets is expected to grow by $114.21 billion during 2020-24 in the report it shows Africa is in growth and the acceptance of online gambling is slow. This could be attributed to several things from your view what do you think is main reason and solutions?

Johan Mayer: A big reason for the slow growth in Africa is due to regulations. Regulators don’t have the manpower needed nor the tools and infrastructure needed to cope with the overwhelming growth of the industry. Look at what happened in Kenya in 2019 on tax issues. Due to this reason part of Wallettec’s plans for the next 2 years is to get more involved with the regulators in the different countries. We have developed a set of tools that can automate the whole regulatory system and prevent losses in tax collection by automating reporting and other core features.

Adeleye Awakan: Another report by THEATREMATRIX said that in every 20 new sign-ups is a fraudulent one and that at a peak times fraudster, bots and users trying to outsmarts the programs can account for as much as half of your page traffic. So what is Wallettec doing to prevent such from happening to their customers?

Johan Mayer: The mobile payment system we use for our clients allows players to make and receive payments in real-time while we ensure that all possible steps are taken to prevent fraud. Our security system is developed to ensure that mobile number fraud is limited, GEO location data is captured when using our mobile apps and other fraud prevention techniques are implemented to limit all possible fraud across our system. Although no one can claim to be 100% fraud free our system has the security capability to instantly notify all parties involved when any possible fraud attempts are taking place on our platform. Giving our clients and system the ability to stop all transactions with the customer involved.

Adeleye Awakan: What is Wallettec mission for the Africa gaming ecosystem before the end of 2020?

Johan Mayer: Our mission for 2020 is to grow our list of supported countries to about 20 countries throughout the African continent.
We are also working on partnering with the different regulators throughout Africa. Sports’ betting is growing at an alarming rate and regulators are not able to provide the services needed to properly regulate the industry. We have developed a platform that can enable regulators within a country to properly regulate Sports betting or the whole betting industry. Our platform will automate tax collection and reporting between the regulators, mobile money providers and the betting system providers. Give regulators the ability to collect detailed analytical information on all player’s spending and winnings, all in real-time. This will not only benefit the regulators but the betting providers as well. This will increase time to market for the providers and reduce the risk of being over taxed.

Adeleye Awakan: finally what is the future of mobile payments in Africa gambling space?

Johan Mayer: Mobile payments have always and will always play a major role in the African payments industry, not only in gaming. But due to the new tax laws that’s being enforced to mobile payments in countries like Uganda and the issues with Safaricom in Kenya the industry is looking for new ways to enable people to pay.

Methods like cash, vouchers and other options bypassing mobile may soon overtake the popularity when it comes to making betting payments.

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