Payment processing in online adult entertainment already was a crowded arena when Payoneer.com decided to toss its hat into the ring not long ago. The competition was beyond stiff. It was stifling. Established giants like CCBill and several other companies seemed to have a stranglehold on the marketplace and even their executives complained of the shrinking opportunities, not to speak of the constant pitfalls that come with this kind of business — recalcitrant credit card companies, angry banks and customer fraud. So why did an established mainstream processor like Payoneer take the plunge?
The answer is that the company entered adult with a completely different business model than nearly all of the other processors.
Our specialty is payouts, we don’t do any third party processing or credit card processing. Our business strictly involves payouts.
“Our specialty is payouts,” says Pearl Levy, Sales and Account Executive on the adult side for Payoneer. “We don’t do any third party processing or credit card processing. Our business strictly involves payouts.
“Payoneer is an international payout solution that pays directly to a pre-paid MasterCard. We are a registered MasterCard merchant service provider, and our MasterCard is accepted and used worldwide.
“We’ve been in business since 2005, headquartered in New York City and Tel Aviv. We have 100 employees all around the world, experienced in the financial and technology fields. We’re privately held and backed by a very strong bank.
“We used to be very heavy in the mainstream business, but we’ve significantly increased our adult portfolio in the last few months. Now more than 300 adult companies are using us to pay their affiliates, models and studios.”
The Payoneer execs have to be pleased with the results that Pearl Levy has achieved in such a short time frame, because among the 300-plus adult companies now using the firm’s services are impressive clients like MyFreeCams.com and Gamma Entertainment, to name just a couple. But Levy gives all the credit to the Payoneer support staff.
“We really hear our customers and we appreciate their feedback. An example of this is the fact that we weren’t in the adult field until recently, so we learned by listening to a lot of their feedback. Now that we’ve increased our portfolio with them, we take that feedback and work on things for them. For example, we’ve deployed NATS and MPA-3 for those [adult] customers.
“Now we’re hearing a lot of things about simplifying fees, so we’re working on that, too.”
The integration of NATS — the flagship software product of Too Much Media which gives webmasters everything they need to run a successful online affiliate program — has been especially vital to the boost in adult clients for Payoneer.
“It’s a cleaner solution,” Levy explains. “A lot of people, especially our bigger clients, already are using it. NATS is like a one-step solution.”
But the NATS integration is simply a bonus aspect. What makes Payoneer truly attractive to the adult webmasters is its strong and special relationship with a single bank. Right now, all of the business of Payoneer is done through the Choice Bank of Belize.
This tiny nation located on the East Coast of Central America on the Western Caribbean, just below the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, has become a safe harbor for banking customers for a variety of reasons. Belize gained its independence in 1981 after having been a British colony for centuries. Recently the Belize government has taken strong policy steps to make the nation a leading center of financial services, especially those services involving Internet businesses and e-commerce. Choice Bank accounts, for instance, are not subject to local taxes or exchange restrictions. And according to the International Monetary Fund, the main advantages that Choice Bank and other banks in Belize offer as offshore financial centers are: “Tax exemption, low registration costs, and a flexible trust law that facilitates asset protection trusts.”
Translated, this means that depositors’ monies are safe from being picked over by governments and other third parties, which are the bane of banking in so many other nations.
“We have a very strong relationship with our bank,” Levy says. “We follow all of their guidelines and we’re always working on strengthening that relationship. We’re also working on possibly doing business with a European bank, but right now all of our business is with Choice Bank.”
Obviously, the most important ways for payment processors to maintain a solid business relationship with a bank is to minimize fraud and chargebacks. Payoneer has achieved this by hiring a trusted company to take care of fraud scrubbing, opting to let experts in that field do the work.
“Chargebacks are not a problem,” Levy maintains. “Our chargeback level is very low.”
Payoneer also is gearing up for the future, especially with regards to the mobile and smart phone market, according to Levy.
“Mobile is the big trend right now,” she says, “and we’re adapting our system to accommodate that and doing more research. We’re constantly doing research to adapt to the changing trends.”
But Levy maintains that Payoneer won’t lose sight of its main objective and responsibility — meeting the payout needs of clients.
“We deal mainly with companies that are getting requests from webmasters to receive payouts,” she says. “So when enough webmasters and affiliates are asking for different payout needs, then those clients come to us. We meet their needs by being more aware and listening to their feedback.”