The UK's four operators have signed a deal with direct operator billing service MACH for its customers to make purchases and have them charged to their mobile phone bill.
The deal means that customers can potentially make purchases from their phone on websites and app stores without having to enter their credit card details. MACH said it will also help retailers develop flexible pricing and direct refund capabilities.
Rory Maguire, head of payment services at Three, said: 'With the UK very close to full availability of direct mobile operator billing for consumers of online and app purchases, we are now one of the leading geographies in the world for the presentation of a quick and easy payment method for the burgeoning smartphone user base. This will generate increased consumer choice, provides a vehicle for innovation in apps and online services and eliminates the age or “banked” barrier that exists with other forms of app payments. We believe this slick and easy payment method... will be the future for apps payments and will overtake the credit card or voucher payment methods that are hostile to a small screen.'
MACH said it would also work with O2 on its new Charge to Mobile service, which will launch by the end of 2012 and allow its customers to bill digital purchases to their mobile bill. Danny Barclay, head of interactive sales at O2, said: 'As one of the first trusted partners for our new Charge to Mobile platform, MACH is helping us to open up the app economy for online services to our consumers. MACH’s heritage in delivering frictionless payments for major application stores and merchants such as Microsoft, made them an ideal partner. There is little doubting that apps and online content that can be charged direct to your bill represents an important revenue stream for us and our partners and a safe and secure mechanism for our consumers to access rich apps and content.'
Editor: Graeme Neill