It was only a matter of time until more and more major players in the computer industry tried their hand at mobile payment solutions. Microsoft is the most recent company to announce their project, although they have taken a page out of Apple’s book and opted to go with carrier billing for now. Users will be able to make purchases by adding the charges to their monthly phone bill.
Microsoft Lets Windows Users Pay Through Carrier Billing
It is rather strange to see Microsoft enter this space, as they are not exactly one of the major players in the mobile device world right now. That being said, tons of consumers around the world use portable devices running Microsoft’s Windows operating system, and their new smartphone lines are gaining momentum all over the world.
Carrier billing is an interesting spin on the mobile payment ecosystem as we know it today. Rather than linking existing financial tools to a new application, carrier billing lets consumers buy things, and adds the charges to their monthly phone bill. Apple users in Russia and Germany can use this method to make iTunes purchases from their mobile devices.
For Microsoft, the plan is to offer a similar service, and enabling pay-with-your-phone-number purchases in the Windows Store. For example, any Windows 10 user will be able to make purchases on any of their devices running the OS, by simply entering their mobile phone number during the checkout process.
Don’t expect to purchase any expensive items just yet, as the offerings are limited to movies, games, apps, and music. The United States will be the first ones to test this new mobile payment scheme by Microsoft, and other carriers and countries will be coming soon. According to Boku, Switzerland will be the next country on the roll-out list.
There is quite some potential for carrier billing to become one of the hottest mobile payment trends in the world, especially as far as developing countries are concerned. Banking infrastructure is not available all over the world, yet most people have access to a mobile phone number. Harnessing this existing infrastructure will bring financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.
Potential For Bitcoin Is There
Carrier billing is not the only interesting market Microsoft is focusing their attention on. In recent months, the company has openly expressed their interest in blockchain technology, by adding Ethereum as-a-service to their Azure platform. Furthermore, Microsoft is accepting Bitcoin payments themselves, so it’s not unlikely they will start mixing mobile payments and Bitcoin at some point.
Similar to how carrier billing works, Bitcoin is available to everyone on this planet who has a mobile device or computer. The main difference is how there are no agreements with mobile providers required to use Bitcoin as a payment method, as the digital currency works, in the same way, regardless of location.
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