One-off Payments flow
2 easy steps for the mobile phone subscriber
Step 01 - Sending SMS
Step 02 - SMS Confirmation
Technical and operational setup
A mobile phone subscriber sends a Premium SMS text message containing a specific code/keyword to a the short code that is used for this service.
The message is received by the mobile operator’s SMS center, and is forwarded to a Premium SMS Service aggregator. In parallel, the mobile operator creates the billing record to be charged on the subscriber’s phone bill.
The aggregator receives messages (from all mobile operators), creates related billing and revenue records and forwards the message to the Premium SMS service provider.
The Premium SMS service provider receives the message and triggers the service to be provided such as activating the access to a specific content/service, registering a donation or a payment for a service (e.g. car parking) or providing information in return. Also, a (free) confirmation SMS text message is sent to the mobile phone subscriber.
Subscription & payment flow
Subscription-based recurring payments have to be authorised explicitly by mobile phone subscribers with transparent pricing information and an easy-to-use subscription termination process. The subscription and the charging processes work as follows:
Many services that are subject to subscription charges on a weekly or monthly bases are advertised on TV, on the internet or can be subscribed to through Apps or the service or content provider’s website (e.g. video streaming services or gaming services).
The mobile subscriber always receives a confirmation of the purchase by SMS text message.
This typically also triggers the availability/access to the purchased service or content.Manage your Premium SMS Services subscriptions – stopsms.lu -check which services by which content providers are active on your mobile phone number
Recurring payments and charging on phone bills
What is Direct Billing?
A direct Direct (Carrier) Billing (DCB) process enables content and service providers to charge amounts directly to mobile subscribers’ phone bills in a secure setup that is fully transparent to the subscriber. Every Direct Billing process requires the subscriber’s explicit consent.
How does Direct Carrier Billing work?
Very similar to bank card payments, Direct Billing payments are triggered on web pages (on smartphones) by agreeing to the conditions and expressing consent by clicking on a button. The process is highly secure, as the specific web pages used to gather the mobile subscriber’s consent are operated by specific companies (aggregators) authorised by mobile operators that have access to mobile operator’s billing infrastructure and provide the required security and transparency guarantees.
The mobile subscriber’s phone number is validated with the mobile operator’s network infrastructure: there is no need for mobile subscribers to insert their phone number into a form and validate it through an SMS text message they would receive. This kind of validation through a direct interconnection also substantially lowers fraud risks: it is not possible to agree to a payment processed over direct billing without having access to the phone/SIM card that the phone number that is charged with the amount is linked to.
Finally, Direct Carrier Billing provides very high levels of transparency: the full identity of the content or service provider, the amount to be paid, recurring intervals for payments (if any) are all displayed in a standardised and easy-to-read format on the mobile web screens, before mobile subscribers finally confirm the payment/purchase by the click of a button.
3G/4G/5G mobile web connection is mandatory for mobile phone direct billing, payment consent can only be given from the smartphone or tablet that the phone number to be charged is linked to (i.e. where the SIM card with that phone number is used)
The Direct Billing process
Single payment direct billing
How do Mobile Operators/Aggregators make sure that they charge the right mobile phone subscription?
Aggregators and Mobile Operators have set up an advanced interconnection system where Mobile Operators guarantee that payments made by a specific mobile phone/tablet connecting over the operator’s network that goes through the payment confirmation screens are charged to that particular mobile phone subscription. In other words, the payment confirmation needs to be given on the phone linked to the mobile phone subscription that will be charged at the end of the month via the mobile phone bill, i.e. users cannot request charging to another mobile phone number/subscription. This system provides a very high security level, since your identity and the accuracy of the routing to the right mobile subscription is implicitly guaranteed by the mobile operator.
Invoicing at the end of the month
Premium SMS and Direct Billing payments are reflected on mobile phone subscription bills send to mobile phone subscribers by Mobile Operators. Labels slightly differ, from operator to operator