We've praised Boku before and have written an entire guide about how to use Boku and mobile phone billing as a whole. But Boku isn't the only mobile billing carrier out there. There's literally hundreds, but as in all industries, the big players are the ones you end up hearing about.
Among those big players are Boku, Fortumo and Pay by Phone. All of them have their place, but for now, let's compare Boku to the rest and see what other companies have to offer. Let's get to the bottom of what these companies actually do different to one another.
Skip ahead to whatever feature that takes your fancy.
If you want to use a payment service, you want it to be available for you all the time. There's nothing more annoying than having to use different payment services, uncertain about the nuances and potential charges hidden within each one.
Boku stands out because it is the most widely available mobile billing service around. It's not just available across the most mobile casinos, but also across other digital good services and extending to most countries as well.
Mobile billing carriers are fighting over digital goods. Mobile billing is a payment option for transactions under £10, as mobile billing can only be charged at £10 per transaction. Boku is currently the most widely available one. With Boku you can purchase products from: EA, Sony, Android, iPhone, Facebook.
Boku has agreements with the largest retailers in the world, so in terms of pure availability, it's the most accessible when it comes to company and country.
But it's best to remember that Boku doesn't cover every part of the market. Parking payments have never been a strong suit of Boku, with the entire area covered by other mobile billing companies like Pay by Phone. This pattern can be seen everywhere. Boku may have the most widespread and largest retailer share, but if you're looking for something specific, other companies have done well to overthrow Boku in many situations.
Obopay is a mobile service which allows users to send money to each other's banks using direct carrier billing. The amount is deducted from your phone bill at the end of the month as normal and transferred to the desired bank account. Obopay requires you to fill up an account before sending any money, much like an e-wallet. This is done for security reasons and although it has more steps than Boku and other mobile billing services, it can allow you to send your money to more places.
Always check what services you'll actually be using and so better determine which mobile billing carrier you should go for.
The cost of Boku and other mobile billing carriers aren't passed onto the user. e-wallet services like Paypal will add on a transaction fee which is charged to the user, but mobile billing services will charge their costs to the merchant. When you deposit £10 into a mobile casino through phone bill depositing, you will receive that entire £10.
This is great on the face of it, but it certainly causes issues across the entire payment process. Most phone billing services are charging the merchant 30%-40% of the charge, which is split between the network provider and then the phone billing handler. The merchant is then left with the remaining amount.
This is the main reason why you can only buy digital goods using mobile billing, since physical goods have a much lower profit margin for sellers once you factor in the high cuts that the mobile side of the business takes out.
Boku has started to dramatically lower costs. While the rest of the industry is still charging these 30% costs, Boku has lowered the cut to 10%. The reason for this is simply more efficient technology to support mobile billing.
Boku have moved away from Premium SMS (PSMS) which was the old system of charging users mobile bills. It was an inefficient and poorly designed system that is thankfully going out of use. Boku has moved onto Direct Carrier Billing, which is far more efficient and Boku continues to refine the system.
Lower Costs Equal More Choice
Several other mobile billing services also use Direct Carrier Billing, so Boku isn't alone in this situation. The real challenge at the moment is to make their service as cheap as possible for merchants, and at the moment, Boku is the cheapest.
Being the cheapest system and taking the least cut from the merchant is important because it is the main factor in the race to opening up the physical goods market. There's no law preventing mobile billing selling physical goods. The issue isn't a legal one, but a financial one. Companies simply don't want to sell goods at a huge loss. 10% is a good start, but Boku will have to cut a little more to convince the physical goods market to take them on as a viable transaction service.
If Boku manages to stay ahead, there will certainly be a huge increase in Boku's presence.
This is the biggest flaw of Boku. If you're looking to use it regularly, spending limits will quickly become an issue, which is exacerbated since it's a restriction that that few other Direct billing carrier service has. All transactions are limited to £10. This is a standard across all mobile billing services.
The reason for this is simple. Because charges for these services are deducted from your phone bill at the end of the month for contract users. The mobile billing system is in effect, a credit service. They loan you the money until you're able to pay. At the moment all mobile payment services will restrict individual transactions to limit you from being unable to pay back your debts and so put them in the red.
This is an issue that needs to be dealt with for direct carrier billing services to extend beyond what they are now. But Boku has gone one step further and put depositing and spending limits of £30 per day. Not many other mobile billing services do this. The argument from their end is a valid one; they simply don't want people to overspend on their dime. But from a consumer point of view, it's incredibly tedious.
Boku is designed to be as streamlined as possible. It works in any browser and saves your details across sites because it saves cookies on your device to recognize that it's you making the payment. This is very simple, but it also allows Boku to track your daily spending across everywhere you go. Unless you have two mobile numbers, you will be limited to that daily deposit limit without any exceptions.
Until Boku can either improve direct carrier billing to lower the risk on their end, or simply make their limits more lax, then this will continue to be the case. Other mobile billing handlers don't have this issue, so you may want to take into account your daily spending when picking who to spend with.
Ease of Use
We've mentioned Boku's streamlining above and their commitment to simplifying their service puts Boku ahead of a lot of other carrier billing providers. The one thing Boku has over most is how it remembers you across the entire service.
This can be an issue when it comes to depositing limits, since Boku is far more strict. Not only are you limited per transaction to £10, but regardless of where you deposit, Boku will always limit you to £30 a day, even if you have a larger deposit limit agreed with your network provider.
But this memory comes with benefits. ‘Boku 1 Tap' is Boku's equivalent of Paypal's ‘1 touch' or ‘Skrill 1 tap'. The idea is simply that all of your information is stored. You don't have to type in your phone number, all you have to do is just select Boku as a payment method and then Boku will send you the confirmation SMS straight away. Mobile depositing is already simple, but with functions like this, Boku makes it much easier.
Other phone bill billing services have this, but it's a very rare addition and Boku is one of the few that has it so widely available. When it comes to ease and simplicity, Boku has the edge.
The Overall Picture Breakdown
Here are the main points you have to take into account when spotting the difference between Boku's service and other mobile depositing services. There's literally hundreds of them, so results will differ. But these are the things that Boku does better and worse than other mobile billing services; as objectively as we can go.
Where Boku Wins
- Boku is available to pay for more services and in more regions than other mobile billing services
- Boku has progressed significantly in making costs cheap, so has a bigger chance to enter physical goods markets first
- Boku has bought out its biggest competitors, so it has a larger market share compared with other mobile payment platforms
- Boku has a 1 tap service which most other direct carrier billing services lack, allowing for swifter payments
Where Boku Loses
- Boku is absent from several sectors of the market, e.g Pay by Phone with parking and Obopay with P2P money transfers
- Boku has £30 daily deposit limits, so will prevent you from regular spending compared to other payment services
Boku is a great direct billing carrier service. The problem is there are several other great ones. Fortumo does most of the same things Boku can, offering the same speed and spread as Boku.
But Boku is currently the biggest mobile billing service out there and with that brings perks. It has a huge market share, is cheaper to run and is far more reliably present. But that doesn't mean it's omnipresent, so if you're looking for more specific uses for your mobile phone billing, you may have to find more niche companies.
Boku also limits your spending. They're protecting their own back, which can be very frustrating from a consumer perspective, because it's a rarity when it comes to other direct billing carriers who are not doing the same thing at all; even the next largest companies.
Hopefully, this has broken down the overall strengths and weaknesses that Boku offers in comparison to the rest of the mobile billing market. You'll have to research more if you want specifics, but for now, we would recommend that Boku is the biggest for a reason. They provide a solid service that's effectively good enough to cover all your needs.