Mobile payment companies Zong, Boku and BilltoMobile have collectively taken a major step towards lessening the need for credit cards by partnering with AT&T to give its customers the ability to pay for purchases through their mobile phones. More after the jump.
This partnership allows customers to quickly pay for digital goods on participating merchant sites simply by verifying their mobile phone numbers and accounts – a process that takes just a few seconds. Zong then clears the charge through carrier bills.
Zong has established relations with over 200 carriers in nearly 50 countries and this collaborations strengthens their reach in the US. Zong isn’t AT&T’s exclusive partner, however, as AT&T has also added Boku and BilltoMobile as options for users to use when paying.
“This agreement is a great step in bringing more convenience with a new online purchase experience to AT&T’s wireless customers,” said Zong CEO David Marcus, in a statement. “Our strengths, combined with AT&T’s, can help make mobile payments more efficient, affordable, robust, and more economical for customers and merchants alike.”
Virtual items, such as those found on Facebook, comprise a majority of Boku’s and Zong’s earnings. Over the next month, AT&T customers will have access to a variety of digital items. Mobile payments have not gained momentum in the US mainly because of the 40 percent fees carriers require for each purchase, leaving the seller with minimal profit. AT&T reduced its fees to these mobile payment companies although the terms of the deal are not available.
Boku and AT&T’s deal is similar and will provide users with 2-step authorization and capture, transaction processing and the ability to pass refunds back to the customer’s account. The process is simple: users click BOKU to purchase and then enter their mobile number and confirm a text message they receive after by replying with the letter ‘y’.
Boku currently has a wider reach than companies like BillToMobile and Zong as its connected to 220+ mobile operators in over 60 countries, providing access to 2 billion potential customers. Zong is the only one of the three that’s authorized, however, as a mobile payments provider for Facebook Credits.
“We’re thrilled to collaborate with AT&T on a mobile payments solution for their wireless customers,” said Mark Britto, CEO of BOKU. “Combined with AT&T’s commitment to provide a premier customer experience, we’re pleased to bring world class merchants and bank-grade technology to AT&T’s wireless customers.”
Both Boku and Zong have been active on Android as well as we covered back in June. Should we expect deals with more carriers in the near future?