Over the last years, carrier billing became a mainstream payment method for all kinds of digital goods and services. We talked to Iain McConnon of mobile payment company boxPAY about the evolution of mobile phone billing. Iain co-founded boxPAY together with his brother Gavin McConnon in early 2011. BoxPAY provides a mobile payment platform that allows online merchants and app developers to bill their customers through their mobile operators in over 60 countries.
Payment Observer: First of all, can you give us some Background Information on boxPAY?
Iain McConnon: I founded boxPAY together with my brother Gavin, after the experiences gained from Global Billing Solutions, a direct-to-consumer mobile content company. We had developed billing relationships with mobile operators in many countries, so creating a carrier billing company was a natural next step. An important part of our business model is continued global reach, constantly integrating new countries and carriers, now available in 62 countries, and adding more every day. Recently opened an office in SF earlier this year.
Payment Observer: What are the advantages of carrier billing compared with other payment methods?
Iain McConnon: Carrier billing allows merchants to charge their customers for digital content via their phone bill. The main advantages of carrier billing are:
- Global Reach: 5 billion mobile phones vs. 3 billion credit cards
- Convenience: it only takes seconds, especially useful for small transactions where the consumer is looking to make a quick purchase and doesn’t want to fill out lengthy forms
- Security: people are reluctant to provide their payment details like their credit card number online
Payment Observer: How did phone billing evolve over the last years?
Iain McConnon: Phone billing was mainly Premium SMS (PSMS) for ringtones and wallpapers over the last 10 years. Over the last 18 months, carrier billing became a mainstream payment method not only for mobile content, but also for other verticals such as newspapers, dating and gaming.
More and more direct carrier billing relationships (where the content is billed directly to the phone bill without PSMS or premium numbers) are being established. This is a new level of payment integration that provides merchants with more price point flexibility and higher payouts. The end customer won’t see a big difference in their user experience, but for merchants it’s a big deal.
Payment Observer: There is a lot of competition in the carrier billing space. What makes boxPAY stand out from its competitors?
Iain McConnon: BoxPAY’s advantages:
- Experience from Global Billing, tested reliable platform with extensive real-time reporting
- Self-service for smaller merchants, much like the Google AdWords sevice
- Subscription billing and recurring payments are often requested by merchants
- In-app purchases on Android
- Service available also in emerging market where it’s a very appealing way to monetize users that don’t have credit cards. Recently went to India and Asia
Check out more about boxPAY’s Features here.
Payment Observer: What will be the next for phone billing?
Iain McConnon: Carriers will increasingly become aware of the revenue potential of carrier billing, and more direct carrier billing integrations will become available. boxPAY just released our billing option for Smart TV, so look for carrier billing options on new devices too!