Boku Wants To Replace Your Credit Card With Your Phone Number

Mobile payments firm Boku recognizes that while not everyone memorizes their credit card number, most have their mobile digits committed to memory. That’s why the company is looking to allow mobile buyers to make purchases with their cellphone numbers.

Boku, founded in 2009, is rolling out a new technology that enables wireless customers to pay for products by inputting their mobile phone number – not their 16-digit card number – at online checkout. They are then billed through their wireless bill.

For retailers, reports say Boku has also developed software so they can process these payments.

Known as “phone-on-file” technology, Boku’s concept aims to remove friction for consumers making online purchases by reducing the number of steps required to complete a mobile purchase. Buyers using this technology to pay will confirm payments via text message.

“A key element to the strength of companies like Amazon and Apple has been their ability to create frictionless checkout experiences using stored credit card information,” Boku CEO Jon Prideaux told reporters. “This is that same experience that Boku is bringing to the mobile phone number with phone-on-file. Our goal is to make a stored phone-on-file every bit as powerful as a card-on-file for the benefit of our merchant partners.”

The technique, reports say, will likely become widespread across both subscription and one-time purchase products and services, though it will depend upon adoption from major mobile retailers like Netflix.

Reports note that the company had already released a one-click checkout process for in-app purchases. But the phone-on-file product can be used across platforms on any mobile device. Boku has already tested the technology on popular platforms like Spotify and Facebook, according to reports. Now, any merchant can implement the process.

Since first launching operations outside of San Francisco, Boku has raised more than $70 million in capital. The company operates in 70 countries and works with 250 wireless operators. For its phone-on-file technology, reports say Boku is working with the United States’ four leading carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.


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