Mobile Commerce

Microsoft Goes Mobile Payments Via Carriers

Microsoft just bulked up its presence in the carrier billing space with new partnerships with Sprint and Boku that will allow U.S. consumers to purchase items via the Windows Store, both on desktop and mobile.

Windows phones, in general, haven’t taken off in the U.S. as a major phone in the mobile space. But the ability for its customers to use carrier billing for those online purchases could help gain some attention toward the functionality of the Windows phones.

“What we’re seeing, through a variety of announcements, is, in effect, the emergence of a new global payment system,” Jon Prideaux, chief executive of Boku, told VentureBeat. “If you want to sell more stuff, you move beyond credit cards and move on to carrier billing.”

As of late last week (Dec. 11), Windows 10 customers who are also Sprint subscribers can simply use their mobile phone number to make those purchases. The perk behind carrier billing is that it enables consumers to make purchases quickly without the hassle (or security issues) of having to enter their payment card details. Those purchases are then added onto their carrier bill. While this function was once envisioned for emerging markets that have high populations that don’t have credit cards, there’s been more of a push to offer this option in the U.S., as well as other countries.

For example, Apple enables carrier billing options in its German App Store. Outside of Boku in the carrier billing space, other big companies include Bango in the U.K., which is providing the same services for Google, Amazon, Samsung, BlackBerry and Firefox.

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