Coming soon to a retailer's web site near you: Paying for your merchandise by putting it on your cell phone bill.
I've blogged about cell-phone purchasing beforebut always in the context of a sophisticated technology rollout such as NFC plus an augmented credit-card infrastructure (see NFC meets Money: Basics of mobile transactions).
Maybe it doesn't have to be that hard.
Danal, a startup headquartered in the Korean IT International Cooperation Agency (KIIA) incubator in San Jose, CA, offers a solution that allows on-line retailers to add your cell phone number to the list of payment options they provide.
Here's how it works (briefly):
- Step 1. After online shopping spree, you arrive at the dreaded "Payment Options" screen. Instead of hassling with a credit card number and all the other fields that typically need to be filled in, however, all you do is type in your cell phone number.
- Step 2. Almost instantaneously, you receive a message on your cell phone with a unique and time-limited passcode.
- Step 3. You fill in the passcode, click "Continue" and you've purchased the retailer's item.
- Step 4. The purchase is added to your cell phone bill.
There may (or may not) be limits placed on the amount you can purchase. The cell phone provider has to change its billing infrastructure. But Danal's solution does make it easier for the consumer. There appears to be less opportunity for fraud or phishing activity. Best of all, your credit card remains safely in your wallet or purse.
Danal's BilltoMobile solution doesn't offer the NFC advantage of just swiping your card and having "merchandise" such as theater tickets or transit tokens delivered to your cell phone. But that sort of integration isn't impossible.
The company is a start-up in the US but it was founded in Korea in 2000 and has already rolled out 14 mobile carrier implementation across South Korea, Taiwan, and China (including GSM, CDMA and TDMA carriers).
Now it's ready to stir up the North American market too.
More information about Danal is available at www.danalcorp.com.