Take Your WordPress Site Global With Mobile Payment Gateways
I have a mobile phone. You have a mobile phone. 12 year-olds have mobile phones. My mom has an iPhone. Everyone has a mobile phone (if you don’t, let me know why in the comments). We use them to talk to our friends, manage our businesses, and take care of our daily chores. Their usefulness is only slightly eclipsed by their ubiquity.
Finally, WordPress is joining the mobile party. Whether it is verifying your users, protecting content, or sending text message notifications, the WordPress platform is slowly but surely being integrated with, and getting the most out of, mobiles phones. You can now add mobile payments to that list of services that WordPress can be enabled to provide.
What are mobile payments? When a user sees a product they would like to buy (whose seller has been configured to trake mobile payments), they call or SMS a number to authorize a payment. They then receive a code which they can use to complete the purchase. The payment is added to the customer’s phone bill, which they pay at the end of their billing cycle.
In total, the process can take less than ten seconds. There are four other huge pluses to using a mobile payment service on your website:
- Since it doesn’t use credit or debit cards, it is perceived as being more secure; handing out your phone number is less scary than throwing around your credit or debit card.
- Everyone has a phone, so all of your potential customers will be able to make a payment. This is especially true globally, where everyone has access to a phone, while plastic might be harder to come by.
- More and more web viewing is being done on mobile devices. Your users are more likely every year to be looking at your website on their smartphones. What could be easier than paying with it?
- It’s easy. The fact that it does not involve a long and complicated registration process results in fewer steps to payment and higher conversion.
One of the best options available for adding a mobile payments capability to your WordPress website is SmsCoin. The greatest strength of SmsCoin is how comprehensive its service range is: you can take payments in 98 countries across the world and from most of the major mobile providers in those countries.
In addition to their comprehensive coverage, they offer a wide range of services for which you can accept payment. At the most basic level they offer scripts that allow you to integrate SmsCoin with well known packages like phpBB as well as popular shopping carts like osCommerce, PrestaShop, and ZenCart. These are not the only services that SmsCoin offers. If you are willing to go the trouble of integrating them, there are also these services: sms:key, sms:donate, sms:bank, sms:content, sms:chat, sms:transit, and sms:safe (a comparison here will help you to see which one would best suit your needs).
In terms of direct integration with your WordPress website’s functionalities, you will have to download a plugin for each of their WordPress services. Below is a list of the WordPress-specific services they provide, a link to the plugin, and a demo where available:
- SMS Hide | Plugin | Demo
- SMS Registration | Plugin | Demo
- SMS VIP Upgrade | Plugin | Demo
- SMS Article Publication | Plugin
- SMS BuddyPress | Plugin
- SMS Vote | Plugin
One important thing to remember about SmsCoin and other mobile payment gateways is that the rates are incredibly high. Punitively high. You can expect to receive between 25% and 50% of the purchase price to your own account depending on your country and the mobile carrier. The payments are also inflexible: SmsCoin will only allow you to offer products at certain fixed prices. In the US, for example, you are only able to offer products that cost US$4.99. When you combine that with the 25% net profit, you can only receive US$1.25 per sale, no matter what you are selling.
For more nitty gritty details, check out their FAQ. Otherwise enjoy their only non-Russian video explaining how premium SMS payments, and their service, works (if you want to enjoy the bizarre color scheme of the Russian videos, check out their YouTube channel):
Unlike SmsCoin, Allopass is not solely dedicated to SMS/mobile payment services. Instead, Allopass is a large and respected all-purpose payment processor/gateway that just so happens to also offer premium SMS/mobile payments as part of their range of service offerings. A global merchant, they offer service in an enormous range of countries (list here) and across those countries, they also offer a range of different services. For those of you in the US, for example, in addition to their phone services, you can choose to have your customers pay by credit/debit card, Wallie, and Zeevex.
In most countries, Allopass offers the type of SMS payment service described previously. In the US, though, they do not offer SMS services, but instead IVR (Payment by Phone). In order to pay, the customer dials up the phone number listed and hears the code that has to be entered, rather than sending and receiving an SMS. Though this is a slightly different process flow, it is essentially the same service and takes only a few seconds longer. Much like SmsCoin, the IVR service can also only offer products in fixed price points. To take the US as an example, the price points are USD$3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30, and they only return to the seller between 43% and 51% of the revenue, depending on price point. For those of you who are curious about how it works for other countries, the rates are roughly similar or worse and also allow only for fixed price purchases (I would be more specific, but their public documents are somewhat conspicuously vague).
To use Allopass on your site, you actually have a couple of excellent options to choose from that offer roughly the same basic service: restricting access to your content to customers who pay through Allopass.
There were two things, though, that were disappointing about using Allopass as a WordPress SMS payment solution. First, starting with Allopass is not easy. They want lots of info from you before they approve your application and, as a result, that slows down the integration process. Second, their WordPress offerings are not as customized as those of SmsCoin. They allow you to restrict content and offer subscriptions, but not a whole heck of a lot more.
For more information, check out this French language video that demos their service a little. Don’t speak French? Neither do I…but you can use Google Translate to work out what’s going on (there’s no audio, just text):