The Estonian/U.S. mobile payments company, Fortumo, has a pretty good track record of moving quickly. It was one of the first — if not the first — to give Android developers a way to offer in-app purchasing outside of Google’s own payments system, with the added bonus of carrier billing, sans credit card. An offer that Rovio took up with its ‘Bad Piggy Bank’ Angry Birds upgrade. Today, Fortumo is gunning for first-mover advantage again with news that its mobile payments solution is Windows 8-ready.
As a result, app developers for Windows 8 (including Windows Store apps running on Windows RT and Microsoft Surface tablets) can now get in on Fortumo’s in-app purchasing action, with support for carrier billing in around 80 countries and 250 mobile operators — a feature that is particularly relevant in emerging markets where credit card take-up is significantly lower.
So, instead of punching in a credit card number and having to register, Fortumo enables customers to pay for digital goods via their mobile operator bill using SMS. To that end, the company says that the most popular categories for mobile payments are online and mobile games, apps and virtual goods, while other digital content, such as books, music and videos, are “catching up quickly.”
Specifically, the Windows 8 implementation supports payments for single items, virtual currencies and non-consumable items, along with built-in volume discounts, and is localized for 32 languages, supporting 45 different currencies.
“With the launch of Windows 8, developers now have an additional platform on which to build and distribute their applications. We will be helping them to develop new revenue streams from the get-go,” says Rain Rannu, co-founder of Fortumo, in a canned statement.
In total, Fortumo claims 70,000 mobile merchants to date, and reckons that its mobile operator billing is available to over 4 billion mobile users worldwide. That’s a pretty big potential market by any measure and, once again, it looks like Europe is leading the way in mobile payments.
Keep at it.