If you are a CSP fearing OTT (over the top) digital content providers addressing your customer base and cutting you out, are concerned by financial services companies offering payment capabilities that don’t include you or would like to generate incremental revenues leveraging your key skill sets, then read on.
There are many mobile payments offerings appearing in the market place but one has been adopted by no less than Verizon in the USA. BilltoMobile® enables mobile customers to charge online purchases to their phone bill quickly and securely.
To conduct a transaction, consumers click on the BilltoMobile® button during checkout at a participating online Web site and then input their mobile numbers and mobile billing zip/post codes for subscriber authentication. A text message is then sent to consumers’ mobile phones with a one-time passcode.
Once consumers input the passcode into the online checkout window, the transaction is completed. The entire process takes about 15 seconds, and there is no pre-registration or links to credit cards or bank accounts required.
So, no credit card is needed, no sensitive information is asked for or stored on a central system. The whole process leverages existing billing system information. Best of all, payment processing fees are an internal cost and both pre- and post-paid customers can be serviced.
BilltoMobile® claims to have developed and refined its fraud-prevention engine over the last decade and to have processed billions of dollars in transactions to date. The marketing says that whether you’re 35 years old and want to blitz through checkout securely, or you’re 16 years old and don’t have a credit card, all you need is a mobile phone to receive a text message and you’re good to go! Download music, pay for online game currency or subscriptions, buy virtual items to jazz up your online avatar – it’s all up to you, and the sky’s the limit (unless spend limits are applied by the customer). Plus, you don’t have any added-on mobile billing fees or interest charges. So, what are the drawbacks?
Well, apart from having to integrate the payments system to your existing billing architecture you have to attract merchants. This is the key differentiator, and it’s no easy task. However, most CSPs have relationships with key digital merchants via their efforts to sell content and apps already. Let’s not forget that this play is essentially but no exclusively for digital content payments and there is probably no need to attack physical retail shops and restaurants, for example. If the model is successful, they will come of their own accord. The other major advantage of dealing with digital merchants is that they are internet based and easy to access.
Making the introduction of a payments model like BilltoMobile® to merchants as easy as possible and giving them instant implementation of the payments mechanism at their checkout is key. The advantage CSPs have over startup payment providers is that they are already well known and well trusted, sometimes more so than their financial counterparts.