Consumers Keen On Operator Billing For App and In-app Purchases

37 per cent of smartphone users in the UK and Germany have paid for apps by having the amount added to their bill through direct operator billing. Furthermore, 29 per cent of smartphone users who have made app or in-app purchases prefer to have the charge added to their mobile phone bill through direct operator billing – significantly higher than the 18 per cent that prefer credit card payments and 10 per cent that prefer debit cards. The findings come from research commissioned by MACH and carried out by Opinium, who surveyed more than 2,000 consumers online.

Convenience and speed of use are the top reasons behind the popularity of one-click direct operator billing for those respondents who prefer this option, with around 66 per cent and 50 per cent respectively citing these reasons. Meanwhile, around 19 per cent of smartphone users in the UK said that they would be likely to switch networks if their provider was unable to offer a direct operator billing solution.

“These results demonstrate that smartphone users are clearly demanding greater convenience where mobile payments are concerned,” says MACH head of sales, mobile billing & payments, Michael De Jongh. “This presents a significant opportunity for operators and mobile content providers to differentiate themselves and offer a more compelling user-experience through direct operator billing. Deploying a frictionless purchase process has the potential to deliver greatly enhanced transaction completion rates, providing a real shot in the arm for the entire mobile content ecosystem.”

To date, says MACH, app developers have been hindered by the lack of a solution to effectively monetise their products across all mobile platforms. Consumers are looking for a reliable, frictionless user experience, which allows them to be charged correctly for what they actually consume. Both Premium SMS and credit card payments, says MACH, have failed to provide an effective monetisation path for developers, apps stores and content providers alike.

More recently, direct operator billing has been deployed in an in-app environment, where mobile app developers are taking advantage of the one-click frictionless payment option that direct operator billing provides for monetising mobile applications. This, says MACH, is a potentially more secure, seamless and convenient alternative to both credit card and Premium SMS billing.