Pay by Mobile is a convenient online payment system which enables people to make purchases using their mobile number. Payments are then charged to their phone service provider’s monthly bill. Pay as You Go phone users can also take advantage of this service. In this case, payments are deducted from remaining call credit. In the United States and elsewhere, it is commonly referred to as ‘carrier billing’. There are now several different Pay by Mobile systems available for people to use, but the original service and perhaps still the best known is Boku Pay by Phone.
History of Pay by Mobile
The basic idea for this innovative service originated in the United Kingdom. A pair of enterprising entrepreneurs and some far sighted investors founded a company called Vidicom in Chesterfield, in 2003. The company was formed in order to set up their idea for a new payment system, branded ‘Mobilcash’.
However, it soon became apparent that further funds were needed to bring their plans to fruition, and the required investment was just not forthcoming in the UK. The decision was therefore taken to seek the necessary investment from abroad, and this was indeed found from venture capitalists in the United States.
As a result, the company moved lock stock and barrel to the other side of the pond in 2009. It re-established itself in Delaware in the eastern United States, and was re-branded as boku Inc. The service was launched the same year after the acquisition of a similar local service called Paymo. An initial injection of $13 million was sufficient to see the idea off the drawing board and into the real world.
Further cash injections in subsequent years amounting to almost $100 million allowed the service to continue expanding until by 2016, the company was able to take its service well beyond the United States and across the world. The company’s financial development culminated in the autumn of 2017, when boku was publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange. The resulting flotation valued the company at £125 million.
At the time of writing, it is already a global operation, with close to 15 million customers using the service across the world every month. It is operating in more than fifty different countries and with more than 150 different phone service providers. The total value of all payments made in 2019 was close to $4 billion. And remember, this is just for boku, and does not include payments made via other similar services. Boku has major offices in London; San Francisco in the United States; Munich in Germany and Mumbai in India. It has further satellite offices in other countries across the globe, such as Brazil, France, China, Japan and Singapore.
How Does Pay by Mobile Work?
Pay by Mobile allows you to make payments online, and charge those payments to your monthly phone service provider’s monthly phone bill (or to remaining call credit for Pay As You Go (PAYG) customers). There are usually limits to the amount you are allowed to spend. These can vary by country and phone service provider. These limits can be imposed by financial services regulators (like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK), or by the individual phone service providers themselves (to limit their exposure to debt and to ensure deposits are large enough to ensure accepting payments covers the costs of administration. In the United Kingdom, these limits are usually set at a minimum of £5 or £10, with a daily maximum deposit restriction of £30.
All you need to make a payment in this way is your mobile phone number. This makes the service exceptionally convenient. It is also particularly useful in an emergency: if, for example, you have lost or forgotten your credit and debit cards. Pay by Mobile is also a boon for people who do not have conventional banking arrangements, or a poor credit record. They can use their mobile phone number to make online payments instead.
Because of the relatively low ceiling on payment value, the service is often used for regular monthly online payments for services such as Spotify, and for purchasing apps which will be downloaded to the phone in any case. They are also frequently used to make deposits to online bingo sites and casinos, where they are especially useful for on the go play on smartphones and tablets.
All you need to do is look for the Pay by Mobile link at the online checkout. Enter your mobile number. Because your mobile number is unique to you, authorisation is quick: you will receive a text to your phone (hence the reason that this service is also often known as Pay by Text). This is an extra security measure which prevents anyone who knows your number form making unauthorised payments. You are then asked to text ‘Y’ to authorise your payment.
There is usually a charge for this service. This can vary according to the website or vendor you are making payments to. As an example, some charge a one off fee, typically £2.50, whereas others can charge a commission, which is a set percentage of your deposit amount.
Pay by Mobile and Online Gaming
Pay by Mobile is a very convenient and popular way of making deposits to online bingo and casino sites. However, there is a price to pay for this convenience. Whereas most other payment methods are often free to use, there is almost always a fee to pay when using you charge payments to your phone bill or credit. To check whether an online casino or bingo title accepts Pay by Mobile, just click on the ‘Deposit Methods’ link on any Oh My Bingo site review.