Mobile payments company mopay is launching a new technology, mopay call, that allows online merchants to allow consumer to bill purchases to their land line phone accounts. Like competitors Zong and Boku, mopay’s platform doesn’t require users to have a credit card or bank account to make a micropayment. Users enter their cell phone number, reply to a text message and then all virtual charges are automatically charged to the user’s monthly cell phone bill.
With mopay call, mopay is one of the first of the mobile payments platforms to allow users to charge a payment to a landline bill as opposed to a cell phone bill. Here’s how it works. After selecting mopay call during an online check-out process, mopay’s payment screen will prompt the consumer to authorize the purchase through a short, automated call. The payee will need to call a given number via the land line number that is being charged, and will be asked for a special code that mopay gives the payee in the online check-out process.
After authorization, mopay places the charge to the land line phone account and the purchase is completed. The charge later appears on the consumer’s phone bill along with voice charges. mopay call does not require any registration and is available to all consumers who have access to a land line phone.
German-based Travian Games is using the new service and seeing traction with use of mopay call, says Ingo Lippert, mopay’s CEO. Lippert says that while the payments process through a landline is popular in Europe, the idea of landline charging is new in the U.S.
But one of the barriers to the adoption of mobile payments are the high fees that mobile carriers charge to the payment systems (which are then passed on to the publisher or developer). These fees can range between 10% to 50% of the purchase price, which is a hefty amount in transaction fees. But Lippert says that landline operators generally charge 10% less in fees, which could be good news for the space. Mopay, which is cash flow positive, has raised $15 million Euro and currently reaches over 3 billion people worldwide through its platform.
The question is are landlines dead? As mobile coverage improves, many people and households rely solely on their cell phones, negating the need (and extra cost) for a landline. It’s unclear if this will really be able to take off in the U.S.