Since November last year when Skrill acquired Ukash, Skrill has been working towards merging Ukash and Paysafecard. Over the past few weeks this operation has been completed and now, alas, Ukash is no more. With the two payment methods in Skrill's arsenal, and the two basically doing the same thing (coverting pre-paid cash into online PIN codes) it seemed a certain eventuality that the two would merge. ‘But Ukash is the only one for me! What will happen now?!‘ I hear you cry, so today we'll get to the bottom how the merger will affect you and what to do next.
However, Optimal Payment's successful bid for Skrill is also to be completed within the next month. This buy-out shows that everyone else's ambitions are also firmly fixed on competing with the current payment giant, PayPal. Optimal's CEO commented, ‘PayPal is the 800 pound gorilla in this industry, and while I’m not sure we’re in their rear view mirror yet, there’s room for a number two.‘
Skrill coughed up a respectable $177 million for Paysafecard in 2013. Having put a couple of years effort into Paysafecard, which is now one of the fastest growing areas of the Skrill Group, assimilating Ukash under Paysafecard seems the obvious choice for maintaining the rapid growth of the sector and for further expansion.
As with most mergers, the other benefit is that the two payment methods can now innovate together instead of working parallel to each other. This will strengthen the Paysafecard brand and ultimately work out well for it's customers, as two heads are better than one.
What You Need to Know Now
Whilst we say ‘Ukash is no more', and in business terms that's true, as it was in operation in over 50 different countries, for customers the merger may take longer to come into place.
From the looks of it, for most European countries who had a choice between Paysafecard and Ukash before the merger, their Ukash site will now simply redirect to the respective Paysafecard site. For other countries however, it seems there'll be a little wait until they can offer the new service. We can hazard a guess that this is to do with regulations and that once the wait is over, Skrill will roll out Paysafecard in those countries too.
For the UK, no official advice has been issued yet, but we've looked into what's happening in other countries and we think it's wise to be aware of this as it could come into place in the UK very soon.
What You Need to Do
Below is the advice Ukash have issued for what customers should do during the discontinuing of the service.
- You have until the 31/10/2015 to use up any remaining Ukash balance and to use up any already purchased codes.
- Any codes that may not be used up by 31/10/2015 can be claimed back as a refund, subject to approval. To do this you need to visit the Ukash website of your country and find the ‘Consumer Refund Application Form’ which can usually be found in the FAQ section of the site.
- As of yet, there's no advice for holders of the Ukash pre-paid Mastercard, however Ukash have assured customers they will be informed of what will happen in due course.
For UK customers then, we'd advise that you spend up your Ukash vouchers soon and that you open up a Paysafecard account instead. Whilst Ukash doesn't look to be discontinued in the UK yet, it would save you being stung by any deadlines they put in place soon. As always, when the information becomes available we'll let you know, so watch this space!
For the complete specifics of the merger, visit your country's Ukash page.
Apart from needing to spend up vouchers, the overall answer to the question ‘what has changed' is not a lot really.
Paysafecard work in an almost identical way to Ukash so there won't be massive changes to what you need to do to deposit and all in all the merger should run smoothly for customers.
The good news is that by merging Skrill is now offering customers a superior product. The merger will make the sector a more streamlined business for Skrill, and the more efficiently the sector runs for Skrill, the better it is for its customers.
In a statement made by Skrill's CEO, they argue that the merger will ‘considerably extend our reach in the high-growth prepayment market, enabling us to support consumers and online businesses alike with the world’s largest online cash replacement payment method.'
The bigger Paysafecard can grow enables the company to become more focused on competing with giants like PayPal which serves as a catalyst for a better product being offered. The bigger customer base will ensure more security and better customer service as they look to becoming a big player in the online payment market.