EDC’s Ulf Geismar met with Kamran Hedjri, CEO of Kalixa, to discuss ecommerce, online gaming merchants and the future of Kalixa. Starting as the internal payment department of bwin fifteen years ago, Kalixa has evolved into a fast-growing end-to-end provider of payment services to third-party merchants, consumers and corporate customers across Europe.

What are the current challenges you see in payments for online merchants?

In the converging world of ecommerce and payments there are a number of challenges that merchants need to tackle to build a best in class checkout experience.

Omni-Channel: Customers interact with a merchant, not a single channel. Whilst the features in each channel are important, it’s the interactivity between them that makes the real difference. For example payment methods that are available across all channels, one-click payments, highly-customisable checkout pages optimised for different devices and 3D Secure 2.0 solutions that support mobile and in-app shopping. Another aspect is the complexity of delivering a consistent experience across channels and cost that comes with it.

Mobile: According to a Digital Payments report by Visa, the number of Europeans regularly using a mobile device for payments has tripled since 2015. The result? The way people buy is changing rapidly, which in turn has triggered an explosion of new breed of payment solutions and apps designed specifically for mobile.

Security: Fraud prevention and payments security in the omni-channel world are also becoming an issue. The consequence is an increased cost of managing risk and keeping chargebacks to a minimum.

Data & Reporting: Another key component behind a seamless payment journey is reporting and data. Without reconciliation and reporting across channels and regions, merchants are often left in the dark and have much more administrative hassle to deal with. Another issue is a lack of data-rich analytics on a transactional level, which are an invaluable source of insight and help businesses optimise the customer experience.

What is the future of card payments in the e-com market? Will non-card payments become even more popular in the future?
Alternative and instant payment options are on the rise and I expect them to continue gaining popularity across all markets as consumers turn to more convenient ways to check out. According to ‘Global Alternative Payment Methods: Second Half 2016’ report from yStats, the globally combined share of alternative payment methods already accounts for a higher share of ecommerce sales than traditional credit cards. However, cards do remain the key payment method in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan and France, hence the speed of adoption will very much depend on the market.

What payment related advice would you provide to an online gaming merchant?
Having a balanced portfolio of card and alternative payment options and optimising the processing cost are vital for online gaming companies. Furthermore, focusing on conversion and transaction rates has a direct positive impact on the bottom-line too. And last but not least, speedy settlement and a consistent, reassuring service are also crucial to growth.

How is Kalixa different to other PSP and acquirers? How will the acquisition by Senjō Group impact this positioning going forward?
With more than 15 years’ experience in payments we know exactly what it takes to build a best in class checkout. At Kalixa we offer our merchants and partners an omni-channel solution that covers all their payment needs, cutting unnecessary costs and complexity. Our end-to-end offering, technology and service have been designed and fine-tuned to help our merchants and partners create a seamless payment experience.

We care about our customers and their business. That’s why we offer them personal support and are agile which means we can respond to their needs in no time.

The acquisition through Senjō will help us strengthen our position in the market and build a global footprint as a core of the Group’s payment strategy. It will give us the stability and long term commitment we need to further develop our platform for the benefit of our customers. We will also be able to take advantage of the Group’s vast experience in APAC, and accelerate our expansion into the region.

What do you do other than work, what are your hobbies?
I love spending quality time with my family and jamming on a guitar (although I’m not very good at it…). In my free time I enjoy nature, long walks and do sports whenever I get a chance.