While it may not be as simple as previous generations of “carrier billing” type payments for Google’s Android Play Store, Smart prepaid & postpaid users can now pay for Apple’s App Store apps using their new service called Pay-With-Mobile – a feat that’s not easily accomplished due to the Cupertino-based company’s security requirements.
After a simple text-based registration process, any Smart number holder is able to get what is essentially a real credit card number and security code with which they can plug into their iTunes account to buy anything Apple has to offer. All costs will be billed to either your prepaid load or your postpaid bill. And while it does deal the user a real credit card number, it is limited to iTunes and App Store products only (including in-game items). If you’re on the Android space however, carrier billing is already enabled and doesn’t require this process.
Put simply, if you’re an iOS user who’s been dying to buy some App Store games, in-game items, music, or movies but just didn’t have a credit card then this service is right up your alley. Potential customers here would be kids with their iPhones or iPads and use a prepaid phone. And yes, there’s still a large population in the Philippines who do not have credit cards (and yet somehow own an iPhone).
Just note though: There is a 15% extra cost on top to cover for VAT and other processing fees; which is reasonable if you’re looking to buy the occasional game or two. However, if you’re a regular consumer of iTunes, a real credit card might be better. Still, props to Smart for pulling it off.
The service rolls out on February 16, 2015, with full availability on February 18.
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