If you’re wary of using your credit card to buy things online, especially “virtual goods” on social networking sites or web-based games, Verizon has announced a new service that allows their customers to have those charges go straight to their mobile phone bill.
Called BilltoMobile (because heaven forbid anyone separate words these days), the service will launch this spring and will give Verizon Wireless subscribers the option of having purchases or subscriptions to certain sites added to their monthly statement, rather than charged to a credit card.
How it will work: You’re online and you’re about to buy a bunch of Farm Cash on FarmVille (why? I have no idea) or some other participating game/site/virtual world. When presented with payment options, you’ll be able to choose BilltoMobile. You put in your phone number and zip code and then you get a text with a single-use passcode a few seconds later.
For now, they’ve capped monthly spending on BilltoMobile at $25/month.
While Verizon points out that the service has been wildly popular elsewhere — According to them, up to 60% of digital goods in Korea are purchased using bill-to-mobile services — it’s hard to see the actual benefit this provides to you.
At best, it might reduce the amount you charge directly to your credit card. But if you’re someone who’s already paying for your online purchases and phone bill with the same card, aren’t you still paying the same total amount at the end of the month?