Vodafone UK has announced an expansion of its M-Pay billing solution, enabling customers to pay for goods using a debit or credit card. The existing M-Pay Bill service only supported transactions up to GBP 5 in value, which were charged to to the user’s Vodafone bill.
M-Pay is Vodafone’s solution for enabling third party content providers and merchants to generate revenue from their mobile services. Customers register their details once with Vodafone and can then use a PIN code to purchase services and goods from any site supporting M-Pay. It supports both WAP and traditional web-sites.
“Many of the barriers to online commerce have been broken down,” said Jim Wadsworth, head of m-commerce, Vodafone UK. “Our customers no longer need to spend time filling in lengthy forms with their credit or debit card number, expiry date etc… When they want to buy something online, once they’re registered it’s just a matter of entering their user name and password and they’re away!”
M-Pay is part of Vodafone’s wider strategy for the introduction of its ‘Live!’ services in October. Vodafone’s doesn’t release usage statistics, but PMN suspects the initial take-up of M-Pay has been far from stellar. Think of it more as a commercial technology trial than a service offering in its own right. However, with the M-Pay infrastructure in place, Vodafone will be well positioned to attract third party content providers and merchants to its network.
The two-tier model, dividing transactions between relatively small amounts chargeable to the mobile bill and larger amounts charged to credit cards, is a practical way to overcome concerns over credit agreements and transaction fees. PMN sees this becoming the dominant method, with operators handling high volumes of small amounts and existing financial services companies managing a smaller volume of higher value transactions.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.