consumer experience, technologies

Purple patch for mobile money

The past week or so has seen the launch of no fewer than three new twists on mobile money from the UK’s leading players in the mobile billing space. Increased flexibility and choice for brands and businesses, or just added confusion?

Those capitalising on peak summertime releases, when new solutions can be publicised with reduced fear of immediate strenuous testing, have been Bango – with their Wi-Fi On-Bill solution; BT Agile Media and Dialogue Communications – with their Web Payforit versioning of the paysafecard card; and MX Telecom’s mobile crediting solution, released via a Coca Cola campaign. Not a terrible way of introducing a product.

Bango WiFi On-Bill Payment

Bango’s press claims that smartphone customers will benefit from click-to-pay operator billing, even over Wi-Fi, redressing potential revenues lost when smart devices aren’t connected to cellular operators, but to Wi-Fi networks instead.

It says new technology delivers the optimal operator on-bill payment experience to every mobile device, even when users are connected via Wi-Fi.

The lack of an obvious explanation of the technology behind the solution may suggest a clever reworking of Web Payforit technology, a solution which allows mobile accounts to be billed via the traditional internet. Or they could be keeping their cards close to their chest.

paysafecard: BT & Dialogue’s mobile money service

Explicit in its debt to Web Payforit is the paysafecard collaboration of BT Agile Media and Dialogue Communications. Dialogue’s press claims the solution gives 70 million mobile users the chance to buy on any of paysafecard’s 2,700 integrated websites, by charging to their mobile account.

It says online payment methods previously excluded many consumers across Europe without a credit or debit card. (The dapper gentleman on the paysafecard website arguably gives a better indication of target demographic).

Using a simple Web Payforit portal, controlled by Dialogue, consumers can now buy an Under 18 or Over 18 paysafe mobile card credit up to £8.

MX Telecom mobile crediting

The MX Telecom mobile crediting solution has wide implications in its potential as a much needed mobile refund mechanism – as well as being an effective mechanic for the latest big brand promotions. Simply giving money to consumers probably doesn’t rank too high on the agendas of many brands right now.

A mechanism which can actively add credit to a mobile user’s pre-pay account or deduct from a monthly bill, means the ability to speed up micropayment customer service issues – both internally, for the mobile operators themselves, and externally, for third party providers of mobile services.

There remains plenty of life in Premium SMS as a billing solution, evidenced by specialist providers such as txtNation, whose PSMS widget drives greater revenues than the credit card across most of its merchants’ websites.

An elegant refund solution has a host of meaningful applications for individual services and the premium rate market as a whole.

sink or swim? *
sink or swim? *

This summer’s mobile billing innovations, including the MDA’s new Charity Text initiative illustrate how the mobile industry continues to develop and adapt to the needs of wider industry. But which of the solutions will really fly?

For all their hype, each billing provider solution is highly specialised and caters largely to a select group of players. You might even argue that each billing provider is simply creating value-added features for its existing clients, and for the operators.

Alternatively, it could be claimed that this proliferation of innovation and smarter devices will help to drive mass market adoption.

Define “mass market”, is the obvious riposte. Whatever your interpretation, it’s clear that there’s still a substantial pie on offer. Developing new solutions encourages new entrants, more sophisticated services and knock-on innovations.

As long as new technologies are well communicated to each specific merchant, responsibilities made clear, comprehensive pricing transparency upheld and the purchasing journey kept intuitive, then mobile billing innovation should continue to flourish.

(* It swam, by the way, the labrador puppy from that tired mobile billing solution/labrador puppy visual analogy.)

The links again:

Bango press release
Dialogue press release
paysafecard
MX Telecom press release
Mobile Data Association Charity Text

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