Verizon Wireless has signed an agreement with online payments company Danal that will enable customers to buy digital goods online and have them billed to their Verizon account using just their mobile phone numbers. This puts the nation’s largest wireless provider in similar company as Apple, Amazon and PayPal when it comes to offering a payment platform, but with this strategy Verizon is swinging for the fences.
Verizon is smart to create an online payment platform that it can offer its 91.2 million wireless subscribers, but getting people to use it will be a challenge. If Verizon can get people accustomed to putting in their phone numbers instead of credit cards while shopping online, then it could own a critical element in building an application and services platform that spans the wired and wireless world. Much like Apple has such a large stake in the mobile application and commerce space today because it has millions of credit cards in iTunes, Verizon could be expanding its own payments information for a similar goal.
Verizon’s billing will work when consumers go to a participating web site and choose something to download. When buying the approved game, music or other content, users click on the BilltoMobile button during checkout and enter their mobile numbers and mobile billing zip codes. Then they get a text message on their mobile phones with a one-time code, and once they enter this code into the online checkout window, they’re done. It’s not clear if Verizon will charge folks for this text.
No pre-registration or links to credit cards or bank accounts are required, which is good. Also worth nothing is that there is a $25 spending limit on purchases made via this platform, which means parents could let kids use it and control both the content the kids can download and how much they can spend. In fact, since teens have cell phones and not credit cards, such a service might really take off among the younger set.
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