What is Carrier Billing and What Does it Mean for Marketers?

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The way in which we pay for goods and services has changed drastically in the last 20 years.

How many people use cash as the main method of buying a product in a shop? Probably not that many. How about cheques? Pretty much obsolete.

A study by TSYS showed that just 11% of people now use cash as their preferred payment method. Credit cards were the highest at 40% with 35% chose debit cards as their favorite option to buy goods and services.

What is perhaps most interesting about the survey is that alternative payment methods are on the rise. While the big news has been focused on things like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, there are other methods in which to buy things online.

We are going to look at something called direct carrier billing and show you not only how it works but also what the advantages are and what this means for marketers going forward.

what is direct carrier billing

How does direct carrier billing work?

You might have heard this term before or it may have been referred to as direct mobile billing, mobile content billing or direct operator billing. They are all the same thing.

The method is very simple. When you purchase a product online you don’t need to enter any credit or debit card details. You don’t even need to enter a PayPal address or other digital wallet information.

The cost is actually added to your mobile phone bill at the end of the month. So, instead of trying to find your debit card when you want to make a purchase quickly or being unsure if you should enter your credit card details or not, you simply checkout, purchase the item and the cost is then paid when your mobile phone bill is settled at the end of the month.

This isn’t a new phenomenon per se. In the old days – by this we mean at the turn of the millennium – people were using this method of direct carrier billing to purchase ringtones on their phone however it is about to really take off for other online purchases.

What are the advantages of carrier billing?

There are 3 main plus points of using carrier billing – convenience, security and how quick it is to make a purchase.

When you are buying a product from a new store that you have never used before, you won’t have to enter your credit or debit card details to make a purchase. Even finding your card isn’t always easy! With this method, it only takes a few clicks or touches on your screen and the cost is added to your phone bill. In fact, it is estimated that 2 billion adults around the world don’t have a bank account so are often excluded from buying items online but direct carrier billing will solve that problem.

For anyone who is worried about the security of their credit or debit card details, direct mobile billing solves this problem too. You don’t have to enter any of that information and it is particularly useful if you are buying a product over an unsecured Wi-Fi connection (public Wi-Fi that doesn’t require a password for instance) as this can make you a prime target for hackers to steal your details. Direct mobile billing is secure and removes these issues completely.

Finally, carrier billing is extremely fast and it only takes the touch of a button to make the purchase and also have the payment method set up as well. Say goodbye to the days of having to squint your eyes to make the expiry date of your debit card when you are buying that item from eBay that you tell yourself you really, really need.

What countries use carrier billing?

2018 is a big year for direct mobile billing as it has just been expanded to certain networks in the UK, Czech Republic, France, Spain, Austria, Slovakia, and Germany.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been promoting the use of carrier billing in developing countries and it has been described as kind-of ‘revolution’ for poorer countries and for people who don’t have access or refuse to open bank accounts.

While it is estimated that 2 billion people don’t have access to a bank account there are 1 billion people around the world that have a mobile phone so it goes without saying that there is a big percentage of the worlds’ population who can use carrier billing to their advantage.

Mobile billing solutions and marketers

Affiliate and online marketers tend to move with the times quite quickly however as the growth of direct carrier billing is seen in both developing and developed countries, marketers need to incorporate this into their payment solutions.

The practices of offering this as a means to pay for services are often not available on a widespread scale but over time it is going to be an unavoidable advancement that marketers will need to embrace. The real advantage for affiliates is that by offering direct carrier billing options then the products and services that they promote can be expanded to a huge market that would others be excluded and this is especially true of digital products such as eBooks or software.

Direct carrier billing and the future

The direct mobile billing market is projected to increase to $14 billion by 2019 and for any marketers who are not taking advantage of this payment method then they could potentially be missing out on a huge income stream.

This system is not without its issues and many of these are in the process of being iron out so to speak, however, what is a fact is that it offers a quick, secure and easy way in which millions of people can purchase items online.

The news might be with cryptocurrencies however over the next few years you will notice a massive surge in people using direct carrier billing and for marketers, it is a growth that is too big to ignore.

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