The newest way for developers to make money is by supporting purchases within their application. The most common example is an eReader app that allows you to purchase eBooks on the device and then download them to the phone. In-app purchases are more convenient for users because they don’t have to use another computer to make a purchase or have to experience the jarring affect of having a web browser start up on their phone and then manually returning to the app in order to see their purchase. Developers like in-app purchases because it provides an opportunity to be directly paid rather than having to work through the phone app stores from Apple and Google.
Of course the challenge for small developers is supporting the ability to process payment transactions via credit card within their apps, and that is where Citi is attempting to step in and fill a void. Citi has released the Single-Click Checkout Android app with support for developers to enable purchasing within their app. According to Citi’s web site developers only need to add four lines of code to their app to take advantage of the service. If the user has the Citi Single-Click Checkout app installed on their phone, the code will launch that app on top of the developer’s app to process the transaction after which the user is returned to the developer’s app. If the user doesn’t have the Single-Click app installed the code will load the Android web browser and open the Citi Mobile Web Checkout site.
One thing that Citi has not incorporated into the Single-Click Checkout service is their virtual card capability. Currently available with desktop browser, the virtual card service automatically generates a one-time use card number associated with your account that you can use to make payments. In prevents against card number theft because the number can not be reused. It seems to me that the virtual card service incorporated in to the Single-Click Checkout app would be the ideal mobile purchasing solution.