Kwedit Launches New Direct and Virtual Debt Payments Service
Kwedit is a new company trying to address the group of people who have money they want to spend on virtual goods, but lack the method to make the purchase. Typically teenagers with cash but no credit card, this group currently buys pre-paid cards for game currencies in convenience stores, pays by their mobile account (if they have access to one), or “borrows” their parents credit cards. Or they don’t spend at all.
This problem is what Kwedit and a range of rivals are trying to address.
A variation on the concept of buying a pre-paid card, Kwedit’s service provides the user with virtual currency by direct payment or by incurring a virtual debt. The service is going live tonight in more than 100 games including FooPets and Puzzle Pirates, typically as a new feature in some game offer walls, as well as 5,800 US stores for convenience chain 7-11.
The set of direct payment methods are called Kwedit Direct and includes the usual range of credit card and other direct payments via an integration of SocialGold’s service. But has 3 more direct ways of paying that result in additional money to developers. One is “Kwedit Slip,” a barcode that users can print then have scanned and paid for at 7-11; the interface includes a store locator so users can easily find the nearest location. The concept is similar to how other types web-based purchasing and coupons work. The next method is “Kwedit Mailer,” simply a piece of paper that users print out, wrap around cash, and mail in. The third is especially interesting. Called “Pass the Duck,” it lets a user ask somebody else to pay (like their parents). The interface lets users send a message about the request, and the recipient then has the choice of how to pay: credit or debit card or any of Kwedit’s methods.
Then there’s Kwedit Promises, or virtual currency debt. The company extends a certain amount of virtual currency to the user at a dollar value, and tells the user to pay it back by a certain date, using any of the above ways to do so. It’s geared as a sort of virtual FICO-style credit system, where users get worse scores and less credit if they don’t repay on time or more if they do. To be clear, there’s no connection to users real credit scores. In fact, Kwedit explains this virtual debt as also being an educational tool so people can learn about the consequences of regular payments. The idea for Kwedit’s business, of course, is that enough people will pay that the company will make money despite some users skipping on payments.
Direct and Promises are viewable within a single dashboard of payment stats: how much money they have in a game, how much they owe, how much they’re promised, etc. It is accessible within offer walls in games, as another option next to the usual list of mobile payments and other direct payment options.
While Kwedit’s service is competing, in some sense, with pre-paid cards and other forms of payment, its new features could bring it new users. And, when you factor in people besides teenagers who might want the service, the market looks especially promising. Some older people don’t have credit or mobile access and Kwedit is not yet going after the international market.
Company founder Danny Shader has a long history in the payment industry, having worked on Amazon’s early payment services. The company raised a round of $3 million from True Ventures, Mitch Kapor’s Kapor Capital, Endeavor Partners, Maples Investments, Fenwick and West, and angels last May. We’ll be tracking the company as it signs up partners, and as the payments space continues to get more competitive.