Mobile Networks: Phone Numbers are the next big in-store payment tool

O2, Vodafone, and EE have all got together along with Carrier billing provider Boku, to allow you to to pay for your packet of crisps at your local store using nothing more than your mobile phone number.

Boku LogoAfter the news about Apple Payments being launched, it seems every man and his dog is getting on the payment bandwagon. O2, Vodafone and EE have announced a partnership with San Francisco based, Boku payments to roll out carrier billing to UK online and physical Stores.

What is Carrier Billing ?

Carrier billing is a payment method that essentially adds the cost of what you are buying to your mobile telephone bill. Typically this has been used previously for cheaper small transactions such as buying ringtones or wallpapers before people just started getting those free via mobile apps.

What’s the benefit?

By offering up another choice for customers to pay, we have a new universal method of payment that pretty much everyone can use. I already use my o2 carrier bill to buy small things like mobile apps or the latest series of Pepper pig via Google play.  Boku is the largest player in the market, and offers the unique advantage to the mobile phone carriers of being regulated by the government.  This will allow Boku to act as the perfect partner to move carrier billing payment beyond being for just ringtones and wallpapers and become a payment option for larger ticket items like ticketing, groceries, or even travel.

Who is using it?

Boku have already announced trial customers in the form of:

In the future

In the future, its clear that the humble single purpose credit card is likely going to be replaced by a bevy of payment solutions, including carrier billing, paypal and other mobile Apple Pay.  I wonder which company will be the first to combine all three into a single solution?  That cash in your pocket, I personally think that that will be there for keeps.  After all, “Cash is King” and it will take one heck of a revolution to take it down. So until mobile delivers on its promise to converge all, I say Long Live the King.

For more information check out the Boku Press release for their partnership with the main networks.