Rating: Introduction of Payforit 4.1 with benefit merchant & consumer
GoMobile News seized the opportunity presented by MWC 2013 to arrange a chat with MACH‘s Michael de Jongh – sales director for mobile billing, who was very forthcoming about carrier billing and bill shock. de Jongh claimed that the industry has reached the tipping point whereby the mobile network operators (MNOs) are no longer viewing the OTT players (like Whatsapp) as a threat but instead treating closer relationships as an opportunity. de Jongh pointed to MACH’s recent announcement of its deal to provide Skype concerning carrier billing as a prime example of this.
The agreement has already gone live in Canada and Russia, for example, he revealed.
Being UK based, GoMobile News was very interested in the progress of the MNO instant payments initiative, Payforit.
de Jongh revealed that Payforit is readying version 4.1 of its instant mobile payment system which will incorporate in-app billing for the first time and be released later in 2013.
The purpose of 4.1 is to protect UK subscribers from bill shock created by huge in-app purchases.
The typical scenario here is where a child has discovered how to use a parent’s account details to purchase items within a game.
The bill shock comes because – on paper, the game is free yet a player can potentially run up a bill of hundreds of pounds by purchasing ‘extras’ whilst playing a game.
According to de Jongh, Payforit 4.1 will provide crucial improvements to in-app purchasing via carrier billing by enabling spending caps and providing suitable warnings.
According to de Jongh, 4.1 will ensure that consumers are “alerted before the fact” when making such in-app purchases.
Earlier GoMobile News had been talking to Payforit specialist supplier txtNation’s Michael Whelan about the introduction of 4.1 and its effect on those in the value chain.
He told us, “We are currently working with our clients and partners; taking their feedback on board;and making sure we will be compatible and ready for Payforit 4.1 when it is released.
de Jongh praised the UK’s Payforit system as providing a ‘kitemark’ [recognised endorsement] for direct carrier billing whereas PRS (Premium Rate Services) had become associated with a stigma.
He said,”Payforit not only protects the consumer but it also protects the merchants, too.” So, in future the consumer will be able to enjoy ‘one-click’ billing for in-app purchases as well than to 4.1.