Beware of BOB!

Beware of BOBDOB (or Direct Carrier Billing — DCB — as it is sometimes called) is the state of the art, allowing smartphone users to charge the cost of a digital purchase to their phone bill, in one-click. It’s achieved through a direct integration into the billing systems of the world’s operators. This is what our clients, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and others, demand of Bango.

But Bango has noticed a dubious practice within the industry. Many of today’s mobile payment providers have chased quantity at the expense of quality. They boast hundreds of what they call “Direct Billing connections,” but in reality they are dependent on an inferior approach. This approach is usually not the high performance charge-to-bill payment that it appears to be, and frequently it is not even direct. It is not what it claims to be. It is, to coin a phrase, “Bogus Operator Billing.” We call it BOB for short. Continue reading

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The view from CES

The consumer electronics industry swarmed on Las Vegas last week, for CES 2014 As ever, it was a glitzy, busy and wallet-lightening experience, with some surprising new products to report.

If we had to sum up CES in one word, that word would be “curved”.Blog post 1

This year several big vendors were claiming “the first 4k High Definition curved screen”. While we may never know who was first, there were giant HD displays showing wildlife scenes everywhere you looked (why is it always scenes from an African tundra?) and it’s clear that these eye-popping screens are going into mass production, ready for the big time. Continue reading

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Bango Nexus Masterclass – for operators

Bango Nexus For Operators Logo for BlogggggggggggBango is continuing its long-running Nexus event series, this time with a series of Masterclasses for mobile network operators. The Nexus Masterclasses are taking place across South East Asia, a growth market for both mobile content and operator billing.

The Bango Nexus Masterclass gives operators a unique opportunity to access the expertise, experiences and views of the pioneers in direct operator billing for app stores and digital merchants. Continue reading

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Amazon gets smooth with online payments

amazon-online-login-and-pay-serviceLast month was smooth – we saw Facebook announce innovative plans to streamline their customer’s payment experiences, by pre-populating credit card details on a select number of chosen merchant’s payment pages. This will use card details previously captured and stored as part of the customers Facebook account.

This month is proving even smoother as Amazon announced their entry into the online billing space, introducing both an online “login and pay” service and also a new software development kit for app developers to sell digital and physical goods from within Kindle and other Android apps or stores with their mobile associates API Continue reading

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Apple’s sensor touches matters close to our heart – safety and simplicity

Apple's new iPhone 5s fingerprint sensorAmongst the news of high-res cameras and 64 bit A7 CPUs delivering twice the performance, Apple introduced a new home button on their iPhone 5s, one that interestingly contains a fingerprint sensor. This move was widely anticipated after Apple acquired AuthenTec along with their fingerprint sensor patents for $356m in July 2012.

The obvious use for this is to unlock the phone without the need to type a password, draw a shape with your finger or swipe the unlock button. But this new feature also has the potential to improve many of the ways we purchase online today.

Fingerprint sensors are not new, my laptop has had one for years, making sign-in that little bit simpler, but so far no devices have tied this to payment confirmation. Apple plans to link fingerprint authentication to the online purchases we make Continue reading

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Talking about conversion rates

We’ve been reading some fascinating numbers released by Jumio Inc and reported in Mobile Payments Today. Some of my own highlights (or perhaps lowlights) are:

  • More than two-thirds (68%) of smartphone/tablet owners have attempted to make a purchase on their device, but two-thirds (66%) have also failed to complete a transaction due to “obstacles during checkout”
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they abandoned a purchase because checking out took too long
  • 41% said checking out on their mobile device proved too difficult
  • More than half (51%) of survey respondents said they abandoned a purchase over concerns about entering credit card information

In short then, we are trying to buy things on our mobile devices, but the majority of us (at least once) have found the experience so difficult that we’ve given up. Continue reading

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Google Play’s explosive revenue growth down to operator billing?

Distimo - Top Global Apps July 2013 Everyone likes a success story, so the recent stats from our friends at Distimo revealing that “Google Play revenues surged by 67% during the last 6 months” was most welcome. Especially since Bango connects operator’s billing systems into Google Play, allowing subscribers to pay for apps and content using their mobile phone bill. Apple in the same period, according to Distimo, grew by a very respectable 15% showing how consumers are increasingly prepared to pay for quality apps and content. It shows that smartphone uptake is increasing within high penetration markets such as the USA and Europe while entering new markets such as Russia.

It is interesting to see how this explosive revenue growth aligns with Google’s current global push to add operator billing as a default payment method. Continue reading

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