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Posted on: 10 February, 2021

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The Speed and Safety of Sofort Banking

Sofort is a Germany-based company that is expanding and merging like many other payment processors even as you read this review. Although the company started in 2004 as Payment Network, there have been several changes over the years. Each has given rise to more accessible and more expansive ways to move money online and get cash into gaming and casino sites.

If you are a sports wager or casino enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know that Sofort has recently merged with Klarna. While their hallmark buy-now, the pay-later program, does not work with online gaming, the move does grow the overall scope of business Sofort offers. Everything that improves the company’s baseline and financial will eventually make all transactions faster, easier, and with hope, more inexpensive.

Sofort isn’t an e-wallet or web wallet. This isn’t PayPal, where you can store cash. Sofort is a fast, one-transaction at a time directly from your bank account to your merchant processor.

Now, hundreds of casinos accept Sofort and thousands of merchants who consider the company to be one of the best payment solutions in a nine-country block that will be expanding in the future. Nine countries currently trade with Sofort: Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.

If you see the name Sofortüberweisung, don’t worry, that’s the extended version. If you see Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, or the abbreviations GmbH and GesmbH, the translation is LLC (Limited Liability Company) or “Company with Limited Liability.” It’s all a German name for a business entity or structure.

About Sofort and Klarna

Klarna began in 2005 in Stockholm, Sweden as a payment processor ready to help customers shop online. As technology changed and evolved, so did Klarna, especially as it merged with other competitive and driven companies to expand its reach.

Now, Klarna is a global payments leader and offers a flexible payment purchase program to more than 90 million consumers across 250,000 merchants in 17 countries. Buyers have the options of pay after delivery plans (installment) as well as traditional direct payments.

Klarna’s Buy Now – Pay Later Program

Klarna offers a no-credit-check program to take immediate possession of merchandise buy pay over thirty days. A second non-credit check option is to pay in 4 interest-free payments, one every two weeks.

A final option is to pay over 6 to 36 months. This option does have interest, and a credit check as your purchase is protected through a partnership with WebBank, member FDIC. It helps with more significant purchases and is limited only by your credit situation.

There may be a one-time debit to your bank account of $1 to verify access, but the charge will then be credited back to your account. The only other fee you might generate from Klarna is if they cannot collect a buy-now, pay-later payment. If that happens, they will try a second time, and if the payment gets declined, there is a $7 fee assessed.

In 2014, the company acquired Sofort and merged its business assets to improve its overall operations and financial base. Klarna is backed by many investors like Visa, Atomico, Sequoia Capital, and Silver Lake. Like Sofort, Klarna is part of The Klarna Group.

The company handles 2 million transactions per day, supported by 3,500 employees and a massive IT and security team.

In 2019, Klarna had a listed value of $5.5 billion (the largest fintech start-up in Europe) after raising $460 million to expand payment processing to the US. That funding process included Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Dragoneer Investment Group, HMI Capital, and Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited as majority partners.

The following year, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba’s payment affiliate Ant Financial invested in Klarna, and in 2021, Klarna offered bank accounts for users in Germany. Those customers got a bank account with a Visa debit card and German IBAN. More changes are indeed coming.

How Sofort Works

In a busy world, Sofort offers the fastest way to fund your casino account or make online purchases in a flash. There’s no need for personal information to flow to a merchant, whether they are a money-maker, bookie, or dress shop. Sofort keeps your banking and ID secure, and you make your deposit or retail purchase with ease.

You won’t have to enter a bunch of credit card or account numbers at your merchant, and your data won’t be available to them. All you ever enter are your bank account numbers (to Sofort), and your transaction confirmation gets sent to your email or mobile, and your order is processed. The overall transaction is similar to Trustly, where you get instant transfer of funds from your bank.

How to Create a Sofort Account

You can start your application at a merchant or directly from the Sofort – Klarna home, and it won’t take more than a few minutes.

Use the Sofortüberweisung as a direct transfer method by first choosing your country and your bank. Then enter your bank code, BIC, or the name of the bank. Next, enter your online bank information on the secure payment page of Sofort GmbH. Merchants never have access to our data. Your banking information, access code, PIN, and TAN are stored safely. Even Klarna’s employees can’t access the data.

Once you have finished, you’ll move to the login portion of the payment page. Your banking data is automatically encrypted and transmitted to your bank and awaits your TAN confirmation. Each TAN can only be used once for security reasons. When confirmed, your transfer for merchandise or deposit credit will reach your merchant.

At that point, your chosen merchant has been paid and can ship your goods, electronically send your digital product, or allow you to enjoy all your online gaming desires.

If you want to initiate a Sofort account, banking can be transacted in Euros, Polish Zloty, Pound Sterling, and Swiss Franc. Your validation of a new version is done via email after completing the required fields, including your full name, address, email, and current phone number. You can do transactions with a home computer – laptop or desktop – or iPad and mobile.

Sofort’s Security Systems

There’s always some fear associated with making deposits to online casinos that perhaps your cash is going to disappear into the ether. You’re not wrong for being concerned or overly cautious. The good news is that websites can’t offer or even use the Sofort/Klarna system unless Sofort’s business background process has carefully screened them.

Security is a top priority at Sofort, so Sofortüberweisung has been designed as an ultra-secure online payment system.  Your transaction number (TAN) can only be used a single time and is invalid immediately after using it.

Your banking data and PIN plus the specific transaction TAN are never divulged to merchants. They are only used on the secure form at Sofort GmbH. All transactions are via connections up to AES-256Bit. Sensitive data such as PIN and TAN are never stored.

Sofort GmbH does access your bank account once to initiate your banking transaction. As a processing service provider, they encrypt the data you enter in your secure payment form and send it to your bank. But don’t worry, using Sofortüberweisung will not mean that you are violating any terms and conditions of your banking system.

The company is so convinced that their security of the Sofort PIN and TAN use in their system is crazy safe, they exempt users from any financial loss. As long as the customer uses the correct numbers, Sofort GmbH guarantees against loss and will pay (with all necessary information provided to pursue a criminal complaint) users for any loss within the company’s payment bounds transfer.

What Data is Stored by Sofort?

Some information will be stored if you make an instant transfer. That data includes your name and account number, bank code, the transaction amount, and the date. The merchant will get the same information in their payment confirmation.

Using an App can speed up any transaction and limit the information sent to websites. There is no Sofort App, but you can use the Klarna App if you prefer, and you’ll have access to transaction data after signing up at Sofort GmbH on the Klarna App.

Because the Klarna App is offered through third-party distributors and their platforms, you may have to register first with the App Store. Any information you give to the App Store (Google Play, Apple App Store, etc.) is independent of Klarna. They are not privy to any data you share and are not responsible for how any information you give them is used.

Keep in mind that the App is used across borders, so the features and options available will depend on your language and the country of use. Some of those features are purchases and transactions, delivery tracking, search functions, store overviews, and personalized shopping.

You’ll also have the option to upload and publish your content, such as images and collections, to the web. Make sure you only upload your content and nothing that others may own.

The App and any Klarna services such as transaction history and suggestions based on your buying and browsing are free.

The Klarna system also allows more funding sources beyond direct bank transfers – including prepaid cards and debit and credit cards. You can save your choices to your App, and they will be stored until you change or delete them.

Always use suitable safety measures when transacting any business over the internet or using your phone. Don’t use community computers or divulge any personal information about your banking or credit/debit cards, and never share your username or password with others.

Because of mobile devices’ power to store and transmit data, you should never allow others to access or use your mobile for any reason as your transactional and banking data could be compromised.

Doing Business with Sofort

As one of the largest payment processing businesses globally, Klarna is very demanding about its business partners and security systems. Sofort, as a growing entity of Klarna, benefits from the parent company’s growth and reach.

As a customer of Sofort, you’ll benefit from their expanding network of online casino partners and their diligent vetting of those companies.

Businesses pay varying fees depending on what they offer users and which country they provide services to. US companies pay monthly fees up to $30 plus a transaction fee of 30-cents per, plus a variable cost of up to 3.79% for standard sales.

Fees charged for monthly, bi-monthly, and 6-to-36-month purchases and financing can vary up to 5.99%.

Sofort does not charge a fee to make bank transfers for deposits into a sports wagering platform or online casino. You can also use your Sofort account to complete more significant transactions through third-party processors such as WISE, but that is a fee to WISE, not a fee you are paying Sofort.

If you use a third party to move cash, keep in mind that you must have enough money in your specified bank account and that a transfer can take between 0 and 4 days. Using Sofort, you can send up to 25,000 EUR each day.

Using Sofort to deposit into an online account should get you instant access to gaming. However, there are no provisions for taking a withdrawal to Sofort. It’s a one-way street. You’ll need to use the casinos’ cashier link to arrange a direct deposit (withdrawal) to your bank, send your winnings to your web wallet, or accept a wire transfer or courier check that may involve a fee.

The better you are at choosing a fast, reputable casino, the better chance you will get a quick, complete withdrawal.

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