In this post we announce the possibility for our partners to combine the powerful reach and user flows of mobile carrier billing payment channel with the retention and incentivisation boost of the koomalooma loyalty platform. koomalooma, thanks to its partnerships with mobile operators and mobile payments PSPs, now provides merchants with Mobile Carrier Billing and Loyalty Program in a single solution.
About Mobile Carrier Billing
Mobile Carrier billing (aka Mobile Operator Billing or Carrier Direct Billing) lets wireless subscribers place the cost of an online or mobile purchase on their monthly phone bill or prepaid airtime. This system first came into use several years ago for buying ringtones and wallpaper, and has advanced far beyond its origins. Today, thanks to the rise of smartphones, it has become an alternative payment channel for online and mobile companies, enabling them to monetize digital content or grab their stake of the “app economy”
It’s facilitated by providers (Mobile PSPs) who tap into the billing systems of mobile carriers around the world, connecting billions of consumers to a quick, easy way to make a mobile payment.
How it works
Mobile carrier billing is generally cross platform enabling users to make purchases and charging them to their mobile phone bills whether the purchase is made via browser (desktop or mobile) or within native apps.
The user experience and purchase flow depend on many factors including the device or the application used for the purchase, mobile carrier technologies and policies and local regulation.
On the desktop (and often within native mobile applications), the most utilized payment flow sees the user: 1) Insert the MSISDN (mobile number) into the form 2) Receive an SMS with a pin code 3) Insert the pin code into a form to authenticate the MSISDN and authorize the transaction.
The flow on the mobile browser and native apps can be even more frictionless. The mobile number is identified by the mobile processor (using technologies offered by the mobile carrier). The user is asked to authorize the transaction by simply clicking a confirmation button. This flow is often referred to mobile carrier billing “One-Click” flow.
Other purchase flows include the possibility for the user to send an SMS to a short number with a special code or for the user to reply to an SMS sent by the mobile carrier to authenticate the transaction.
Once the transaction is authorized by the user and by the mobile carrier, the amount of the purchase is either charged to the user’s monthly post paid bill or deducted from the user’s prepaid card.
What is Mobile Carrier Billing used for
Due to government regulations and operator policies, mobile carrier billing has some specific limitations, the main two being:
- Price: Mobile Carrier Billing is mainly used for micro or mini transactions. The maximum amount available per purchase is generally somewhere between 5 to 15 Euros in Europe and between 1 to 5 Euros in emerging markets. Exceptions do apply, where single transactions can be much higher, even over 100 Euros in Russia and above 20 Euros in Turkey.
- Goods restrictions: In many countries, the type of goods that can be purchased through the carrier billing channel is restricted to digital goods. This is due to regulations (e.g. the PSD2) where digital goods are exempt from payment license requirements enabling the different players of the value chain to cooperate to offer this service. The mobile carriers’ commercial policies also influence the type of goods that can be sold through this channel since the commissions applied can be quite high. There are exceptions, for example in Turkey it is legally possible to sell physical goods and services through mobile carrier billing, and the commission structure is almost comparable to other channels.
Due to above limitations, Mobile Carrier Billing is used mainly for digital goods sold online or mobile such as video game downloads and MMORPGS credits, access and credits for dating sites and social networks, software licenses, mobile apps and music or video streaming content.
What are the advantages of Mobile Carrier Billing
The two main advantages of mobile carrier billing are:
- Reach unbanked users: mobile users from emerging markets but also younger segments of advanced markets that do not have access to credit card or other payment systems.
- Reduce friction during purchase: with mobile carrier billing, users can complete their purchase in just one or two clicks, without any need for registration or have on hand a credit card.
Of course, there are much more, such as stimulating impulse purchases or the joint promotions that can be made with operators. The bottom line, as most merchants that have experience will explain is that the high costs of the channel are highly outweighed by the increase in sales driven by the user reach and frictionless flow.
How to implement the mobile carrier billing channel
Merchants implement the mobile carrier billing channel through specialized companies, generally referred to as Mobile PSPs or Mobile Payment Processors. The reason is that in the world there are over 500 each mobile carriers, about 4 per country. Each carrier has its specific technologies and rules and commercial contracts. It would be very expensive and inefficient for a merchant to connect to each carrier directly.
Selecting the right Mobile Carrier Billing provider can be tricky. Each Mobile PSP has its strengths and weaknesses. Some may be very stron on desktop while others stronger within native apps or mobile browser. Some offer a global coverage, while others have very strong offers, but limited to single countries or regions.
About koomalooma loyalty program
koomalooma is the first Loyalty BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) for mobile and web companies. With koomalooma merchants issue points for actions their customers/users make on your mobile or web store, for example a purchase or a referral.
koomalooma takes care of all the rest, from signing up users, keeping track of points and delivering rewards in over 80 countries. koomalooma offers an easy to integrate API and web backend to configure loyalty campaigns and track performance. You can find more at http://business.koomalooma.com
Mobile Carrier Billing and Loyalty Program in a Single Solution
With koomalooma we are partnering with some of the worlds top Mobile PSPs and Mobile Carriers to offer Mobile Carrier Billing and a Loyalty Program in a Single Solution.
How Mobile Carrier Billing and Loyalty Program in a Single Solution works:
koomalooma is already integrated into and active on different Mobile PSPs.
We will refer the merchant to one of the Mobile PSPs with whom we have an agreement, based also on our experience, considering specific needs such as flow, technologies, specific countries and financial.
The Mobile PSP will make a commercial offer that includes the purchase of koomalooma points. The offer is blended in the payout offered for each single market or carrier.
For merchants already active on a specific Mobile PSP, activating the loyalty program will simply require signing an amendment to the current agreement.
As soon as the koomalooma offer is activated by the Mobile PSP, the merchants users will start earning points for each mobile carrier billing transaction and redeeming prizes on the koomalooma catalogue.
The advantages of mobile carrier billing and loyalty program in a Single Solution:
The main advantages of implementing mobile carrier billing and loyalty program in a single solution are:
- Only one integration: With a single integration the merchant will be live both with the carrier billing payment channel and with the koomalooma loyalty program
- Totally Frictionless User Experience: This is guaranteed by the one or two step easy authentication of mobile carrier billing combined with the zero friction points redeem flow offered by koomalooma (You can read more about koomalooma Retroclaim flow here)
- Cashflow: Since the cost of the program and rewards is blended into the Mobile PSPs payouts, the merchant doesn’t have to sustain the cost upfront.
- Cost and Return on Investment: Since the increase in sales driven by the loyalty program outweighs the cost of the program, the ROI of the loyalty program is delivered when the payout is credited to the merchant by the Mobile PSP, which will net out the loyalty program cost.
If you are a merchant interested in mobile carrier billing and loyalty program in a single solution just let us know here. Our team will get back to you immediately.