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Carriers need to lower rates for mobile payments: Boku

November 20, 2009

zooskMobile payments provider Boku has reached more than 200 million new customers with several new partnerships, bringing its reach to 56 countries worldwide.

Boku’s new partners on the Facebook platform include 6Waves Ltd., Snap Interactive and Zoosk Inc. The partnerships also puts Boku’s mobile payment platform on more than 250 new social and casual games.

“These companies are looking for ways to monetize their customer base and the global companies deliver games around the world,” said Ron Hirson, cofounder/senior vice president of marketing and products of Boku, San Francisco.

“On the Facebook platform some don’t have the ability to monetize in countries that are more long tail, so we’re able to reach those customers who are underbanked or unbanked and allow them to be able to pay via mobile phone,” he said. “There are a whole host of people buying games or game enhancement with virtual currency.

“The impulse purchase is consummated much faster and without friction when it’s just a mobile phone, not entering a credit card number and an address.”

Boku lets consumers pay for online virtual goods via their mobile devices. The company launched in June and has more than 1,000 direct mobile payments partners.

On Facebook, four of the top 15 application developers have direct relationships with Boku and that accounts for more than 125 million unique monthly users.

Five of the top 15 Facebook games use Boku’s mobile payments to sell virtual goods.

New partners in the free-to-play space include Cie Studios, Cyberstep Communications, GameBuell, IGG,, NHN USA, NTREEV, Outspark and PerfectWorld Entertainment.

With the new partners, Boku provides mobile payments coverage across many of the top applications for virtual goods and currencies purchases on Facebook.

Boku’s new partners add approximately 200 million registered users across 250-plus new games.

The new partners join Playfish, Slide, TheBroth, Hive7, PageFad and many other developers using Boku to enable direct mobile payments for their users.

One of Boku’s parterns, The Broth, saw its mobile payments revenue double when it launched on Boku’s platform.

Mr. Hirson said that industry analysts predict the virtual goods market to bring in $1 billion in revenue and that 10-20 percent comes from consumers in the United States.

However, Mr. Hirson said there are some hindrances that prevent mobile payments for virtual goods from really taking off in America.

“Mobile payments will continue to grow,” Mr. Hirson said. “It will accelerate growth like throwing gas on fire if mobile carriers lower the rates they charge for transactions.

“They’re kind of high and should come close to traditional payment methods like Visa and PayPal,” he said.

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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