In the past year, Virtual Piggy (VPIG), the company behind Oink, has emerged as a leader in the digital wallet space. In this connected world where children are able to make digital purchases – and rack up a large bill in the process - rather easily without the permission of their parents, the need for safe and secure payment systems has grown.
What makes Oink different from gift cards and the good old fashioned “borrowing mom’s credit card” method is that it allows parents to take control of their children’s spending habits. When they create an Oink account online and link it to a credit card (or Paypal account, which Oink has often been compared to) on file, parents are able to set parameters as to how much their kids can spend online and what stores and online games they are allowed to use their funds. The controls are even nuanced enough that parents can also add funds and approve pending purchases on the fly that maybe aren’t within the spending limit and disable the service altogether if they so choose.
While you might not have heard of Oink if you are primarily a console gamer without children, the service has really stepped up their presence lately. With over 1,000,000 users to date, the numbers and believers are continuing to grow. Oink can be used in popular online games like gaia Online and Habbo Hotel and during GDC, Oink announced a partnership with European Games Group and their 16 million user base that will allow of Oink payments in games like Hero Zero and much more. Oink can also be used in retailers like adidas, Golfsmith, Foot Locker, Zappos and Wal-Mart among others.
During last week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, Examiner had a chance to chat with Oink CEO Dr. Jo Webber about the path that led her from being a mother whose kids were into online gaming and CEO of companies like Energy Solutions International - which is about as far away from gaming as it gets - to the founder of an innovative new digital payment system.