Who & What is the SOFORT Payment Service?
This online banking payment service is particularly popular in Germany. It is available to people who hold bank accounts in eight different continental European Countries. In addition to Germany, other countries’ citizens who have access to SOFORT are Austria, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Spain and Switzerland. Bank account holders in these countries can use SOFORT to make deposits at White Hat Gaming.
In 2013, the German SOFORT service was acquired by the Swedish bank Klarna. Klarna had recently begun offering its own online payment service in neighbouring Austria. Both services were merged, but continue to operate under their own brands, both now wholly owned by Klarna. The Klarna Group launched its services in the United States in 2015, and the company was valued at over €2 billion the following year. The Group now boasts more than 60 million users of its services throughout the world.
White Hat Gaming always offer SOFORT as an option on its casinos, but it is not available to United Kingdom based customers unless they hold a bank account in one of the participating continental countries.
How do SOFORT casinos work?
The system works in much the same way as similar online bank payment methods available in the UK, such as Trustly. Customers simply choose SOFORT as their payment of choice at any participating online store or casino.
After tapping or clicking on the SOFORT link, customers select their country and bank from the list of participating nations and organisations. At this point, they log in with their usual online banking log in and password credentials. Payment is confirmed with either a PIN code, or via a card reader. Confirmation of payment is then received and the transaction is complete.
There is a fee to pay when using this service. This consists of a 0.9% commission on the transaction amount, plus a fixed fee of €0.25 per transaction.
The advantages of using SOFORT for casino deposits are that it is quick, simple to use and secure. There is no need to use a bank or credit card, so account numbers and 16 digit card numbers cannot be overseen nor copied or stolen. None of the customers’ confidential financial information is transferred online either, so the chances of fraud and hacking of financial data is much reduced.
From a United Kingdom resident’s point of view, the fees seem a little high. An equivalent service compatible with the UK banking market would generally be fee free at the point of payment. On the other hand, all banking services must eventually be paid for, so UK banking customers no doubt pay in other less open and transparent ways. These are likely to include lower savings interest rates, higher loan interest rates and higher overdraft and late payment fees for example.
Overall, SOFORT remains a favoured electronic payment method for much of the Germanic speaking world when making payments online. More than 60 million valued customers cannot be wrong.