An interview with MyEvent.com. Early adopters of the PayFac business model MyEvent.com has successfully implemented payment facilitation and used it to grow their business and acquire new clients.
1-When and why did you start MyEvent.com?
In 2002 we developed a do it yourself wedding website builder. We expanded the platform to include other events in 2004 and purchased the name MyEvent.com. At that time (pre social media) it was not easy for people to share information online. You needed a webmaster to put anything online. We realized that there was value in disseminating and collecting information online for events and we gave people an easy way to do it. The wedding space was very crowded and we decided to go after many niche markets. In particular Myevent was used a lot for class reunions, family reunions and other events. Today we are still big in reunions as well as other events, fundraisers, athons, personal crowdfunding and more. We are sort of a mix of gofundme, eventbrite, and blackbaud (platform for athons ).
2-What countries do you operate in?
Our head office is in Montreal, Canada. 90% of our business is in the USA and we are also used in Canada and other English speaking countries.
3-Who is a great fit to use MyEvent.com?
Any person, group, non-profit or company that needs to put up a one page site or multi page site with special features for specific events. In particular our clients can easily accept payments for registration or sell tickets to an event. They can also accept donations for fundraising campaigns. Our athon platform allows someone to manage a walkathon or any athon easily and affordably. People can register for free or at a cost and they can have their own personal fundraising page, and other features to help them manage their event.
4-What challenges does MyEvent.com solve for these clients?
Myevent is a SAAS provider and payment facilitator in one so we are a one stop shop for event and fundraisers. Our platform is easy to use for anyone and we have great customer support. The web page(s) acts a communications hub where they can collect and disseminate information. Organizers can accept payments and get reports to help them manage the event. The major benefit is we can onboard our clients without need for traditional Merchant Account.
5-How does payment processing happen in MyEvent.com?
We are the merchant of record. We collect all the funds by major credit card (Visa and Mastercard) and we pay our clients out by ACH or check or wire if they are outside North America.
6-Approximately how long did it take MyEvent to get payments side of your business dialed?
We have been doing it since 2004 and we are always learning. We have a very low charge back rate because we are very good at detecting fraud and managing risk.
7-What were some of the challenges you faced with payments implementation?
When we started our acquiring bank was in Canada and the banks started charging our clients foreign exchange fees even though we were charging in USD and they were online transactions for registrations and donations. We got an American acquiring bank to avoid that problem. We also had to deal with potential fraud by implementing a 14 day hold period on all transactions and developing many different flags that would get raised under certain conditions that alert us to potential fraud and risk.
We make it very easy for clients to accept payments. They don't need to give us much but we are very careful before we pay out clients. We also constantly monitor transactions so we are alerted to potential fraud as it happens.
9-Does your payment experience help attract and retain clients?
We combine payments for registration and fundraising so we are like gofundme and Eventbrite in a one stop shop and of course we also handle the payments too. We have a lot of repeat business with clients that use us over and over again. We make it very easy for clients because we are a SAAS provider and payfac in one. We have toll free customer support and real people who handle customer support. Many of our competitors do payments or SAAS services but not both in one so clients have to deal with 2 companies and often they are not supported over the phone. We also specialize in certain niche markets and have developed special features for those events. (Athons, Reunions, Fundraising events…)
10-Are there areas where your payment platform could be improved?
We just launched our new crowdfunding platform https://myevent.com/crowdfunding that is totally responsive and built for mobile and we will be migrating all our websites and services onto the new platform over the next few months. We would like to expand to other countries eventually and offer complete payment services in currencies other than US and CDN.
11-Has MyEvent had fraud issues and if so how do you mitigate risk?
If you're dealing in payments you have to be dealing in potential fraud and managing risk. There are different types of Fraud risk and we are very good at detecting fraud even before it happens and almost always before we pay out the account. Donations and tickets pose different types of risk and we have different strategies for dealing with the types of events and fundraising campaigns that accept payments through us.
12-What opportunities is MyEvent.com excited about?
We are excited for the new platform to be live across all services. As mentioned above it is live for crowdfunding as of October at https://myevent.com/crowdfunding. We will have tickets and full featured websites and athons live in a few months. Being 15 years old means we have a lot of legacy code. Today there are frameworks that exist to make development much easier.
13-Any new features or releases coming out?
https://myevent.com/crowdfunding Please also visit this page https://myevent.com/crowdfunding/compare. In many ways we are superior to Gofundme although they are obviously the 800 pound gorilla and are very well known. All of our services will eventually be on the new platform and we are implementing an overall upgrade to everything we are doing.
14-What does the future hold for event management platforms and specifically MyEvent.com?
Today everything has to be very user friendly on mobile because at least 50% of users are accessing sites on their phones. We believe that platforms need to be as user friendly as possible but there always has to be an element of live customer support (as opposed to email only). Customers often don't want to read and they want answers to their questions. This is especially true when you're holding their money.
Thanks very much Rob and continued good luck with MyEvent.com