MGt has secured further funding of £5 million from its existing investors to support the expansion of its PayWizard multi-device payment system. The British company believes there is a need for a flexible and independent global payment system that is not tied to specific devices or operating systems. MGt recently invited informitv to view the PayWizard system at its London offices and showed how it could manage a customer account across different devices, from an Apple iPad to a network connected television.
PayWizard enables secure transactions for subscription or micropayments across different devices. It currently works on the web and is integrated with the Apple iPhone and iPad, Android smart phones and tablets and some network connected televisions. It supports an electronic wallet that allows single click transactions, reducing the payment barriers for consumers.
For programming producers and distributors, PayWizard incorporates a real-time web-based management information dashboard which provides detailed activity reports and analysis of consumer behaviour. The business model is essentially to charge a flat fee plus a percentage commission, albeit at a commercially attractive rate compared to the 30% share that Apple is proposing to charge.
“The funding round agreed with our existing investors provides us with a springboard for growth and expansion,” said Ronnie Millar of MGt. “We aim to increase PayWizard’s reach across multiple business verticals to enable merchants from a wide range of sectors to take advantage of PayWizard’s unique capabilities. At the same time, our strategic push into yet more territories will further establish PayWizard as a truly global payment solution.”
PayWizard attempts to fit somewhere between proprietary platforms like Apple iTunes and open payment systems like PayPal. The advantage, MGt claims, is that it allows publishers and distributors to track usage across different devices. That is a capability that publishers could implement themselves, but many may be prepared to outsource to a specialist and will be looking for a partner in which they can entrust such payments.
The real advantage that MGt may have is in providing customer support through the contact centre that accounts for the majority of the over 700 staff it employs.
In 2010, MGt managed over ten million customer interactions and over £250 million in billings for service providers, including Top Up TV, Racing UK and BT Vision.
The challenge that MGt will face is establishing PayWizard as a trusted brand, in a world where companies like Apple and PayPal have already established their reputations, for better or worse.
Then there is the problem of how to manage multiple identities across the television experience which may extend across different devices in a shared household environment. That is something that even Apple has not satisfactorily achieved within its own ecosystem.
Apple has come in for some criticism for the 30% share of revenues that it proposes to take for transactions through iTunes. Some may baulk at such a figure, but the reality is that Apple is offering more than payment processing and fulfilment. Apple is providing a powerful ecosystem with the potential to market to millions of users worldwide. Traditional publishers, used to the margins charged by conventional retailers, may find such an arrangement acceptable.
PayWizard operates more like PayPal, although currently not on the same scale. PayPal has more than 90 million active accounts worldwide. PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. PayWizard may be hoping for similar success.