Facebook is about to test the Boku payments system to give users an alternative to Zong, which until now has been the only way to buy virtual goods for social games on the social network via mobile devices over the past year and a half.
Boku’s consumer face is called Paymo, which is actually the stronger of the two brand names that the company wound up with after acquiring two mobile payments companies using the proceeds of $38 million in venture financing. Zong, by contrast, has amassed $15 million in financing.
Some pundits have said they expect both companies to eventually go on the auction block, but Boku and Zong have both told the media they want to remain independent. In their current unaquired forms, the two mobile payments companies are better able to make deals with multiple cell phone manufacturers and carriers, however.
Boku certainly makes a very compelling argument for its mobile payments, although the same logic applies to the Zong platform as an alternative to credit cards.
You might be wondering where Paypal fits into Facebook’s micropayment options. So far, Paypal doesn’t have its own mobile offering, but Paypal is a way to purchase Facebook Credits. I’ve tried logging onto my own Paypal account using my Blackberry’s browser, and can see why an application specifically optimized for mobile devices is a world of an improvement.
To get a better sense of how Boku works, check out the video below.