Once the Mobile 2.0 goes popular, the Mobile Payment will be the next hot topic (actually it already is now). I reviewed all the existing/potential solutions here and also put some of comments.

1.Premium SMS
Premium Rate is a charge to the consumer above the normal cost to receive and send SMS messages. The growth in premium SMS can provide consumers some complex interactive services such as mobile gaming as well as the purchase of items including mobile ringtones, wallpapers and logos, etc.

  • conventional mobile payment solution.


  • International transactions are not supported
  • Ad hoc amount of charge is not supported

2.X-PAY with WAP ID service
X-PAY service is developed by Sheffield-based Dialogue Communications Ltd. using WAP-ID technology. The MSISDN of mobile phone can be automatically identified by WAP-ID (a header forwarded by ISP WAP gateway) and the payment will be charged from phone bill.

  • the consumer can be identified automatically, and the WAP ID service is transparent to the consumer.


  • The service highly relys on the WAP ID service. However, if the consumer visit the wap site through an internet gateway, the WAP ID service will fail.
  • The service has to be regressed to Premium SMS in some cases.

3.X-PAY with cookies and SMS verification
X-PAY service might fail if the consumer visit the wap site using non-WAP browser. Therefore an alternative solution might be provided working in conjunction with X-PAY.

  • it works with most of the phones and can be a replacement if WAP ID service fails.
  • no software is required to be installed on the phone.


  • it requires the user’s registration and SMS is used to verify the MSISDN.
  • X-Pay service need be revised to accept user registered MSISDN.

* A Demo site has been built by me, here is the How the demo works:

  • consumer visit the wap site, the WAP ID service will try to obtain its MSISDN for billing.
  • If consumer visit the wap site using internet browser (e.g. Opera Mobile, Opera Mini) or using wap browser but through an internet gateway, he will be directed to a user registration page.
  • The user is required to provide his phone number, password etc.
  • A cookie is written to the user’s mobile containing the identification information, e.g. consumer id.
  • A sms message is sent to the number the user registered in c), containing a verification code.
  • The user has to reply the message or visit a Verification web page to verify the number.
  • Once the number is verified, the consumer can browser-and-buy stuff on the site and his details can be retrieved with usage of the cookie.


  • The IMSI/IMEI/MSISDN can be used as the unique identification of the consumer and no verification procedure required. It can be a replacement if WAP ID service fails.
  • Ideally, it should work with the UIQ, Symbian and Java support phones and Smart phones.


  • A software is required to be designed and be installed on the handset to retrieve the information.
  • The MSISDN is usually stored in network, so it is very difficult to be retrieved.
  • X-Pay service need be revised.


5.Card-Not-Present Transactions

  • it is the convertional e-commerce solution.
  • high security and fully documented APIs to use.
  • support international transactions.
  • It can be a replacement if WAP ID service fails.


  • it can be running as a standalone service by any party and the payment is charged directly from the card. So do we still need X-Pay?


6.Paypal Mobile Payment

  • Highly secured solution from Paypal.
  • handy to use.
  • supports ad hoc amount of charge.


  • similar with Premium SMS, the Shortcode and Keyword are required


Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.

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