Back in the day and decades ago, when the first color phones were introduced, the rise of Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) started as a payment method enabling consumers to buy ringtones for feature phones and wallpapers. With the ever growing penetration of smartphones, it became a favorite payment method for app monetization and, with the introduction of EU’s revised Payment Services Directive PSD2, regulating payment services, it evolved way beyond. DCB now has a growing importance in the digital industry and has entered its triumph march in the sphere where DIMOCO has already pawed the way for the European Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to get where South Korean and Japanese are already since years.
DCBs frictionless nature makes it stand out as one of the most user-friendly payment methods out there, a clear indicator of its bright future. How annoying are all those coins jingling in your pocket or all those credit cards you need to dredge to find?
Wouldn’t it be great to pay for your daily morning coffee with your phone, which you are holding in your hand, checking out the latest news and social media posts while waiting in the queue?
Even though DCB records a steady year-on-year growth rate, it is still perceived as an alternative payment method, not always recognized by consumers. Whether the end user has a credit card handy, that is if he owns one, age or availability of other payment methods, are determining factors of the conversion. This boils down to the question: “What can be done to make DCB a preferred payment option?”
The rules for launching a DCB brand don’t differ much from any other brand. Before end users will complete their purchase via DCB, they first need to know that this payment method exists. The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors”. In order to have a successful brand you must prove why end users should use DCB as their preferred payment option, secondly define the right logo or symbol so that you can transport your brand visually. The last but very important step is to have a clear strategy how to communicate your brand.
In a pioneering spirit some European MNOs have already realized that the investment in brand awareness and brand recognition of a payment method is of crucial importance in order to convince people to repeatedly choose DCB for their payment transactions. A brand with strong brand recognition can significally help DCB to stand out from the competition and generate recommendations to one’s friends and family.
A strong branding gives consumers the feeling of security and creates trust which is, especially in the payment business, very important. According Raconteurs infographic trust in a brand is the second most important factor when choosing a bank, even outranking the price. Due to the long-lasting contractual relationship end users have with their carriers, they are more likely to use DCB even if they are not as familiar with the actual payment method as they perceive the carriers as a trustful and legitimate companies characterized by credibility and trustworthiness.
DCB brands in practice
The German MNOs Telekom, O2, Vodafone and mobilcom-debitel created an independent brand called Zahl einfach per Handyrechnung to educate and foster the trust of end users and to promote the recognition of DCB as an easy to use and an accessible to all payment method for digital goods, apps, games, eMusic, eBooks for example, in addition to the likes of public transportation or parking tickets via their mobile phone bill.
Mobiilimaksu – a joined DCB brand of Finnish MNOs, recognized and popular by their customers, is an easy and secure way to pay for services and products with mobile devices. According to Telia Finland, the potential has only scratched the surface, and the processes are being developed to generate high volumes in the next years to come. “We have good enough common look and feel within other DCB companies to service providers and end users”, states Telia Finland Oyj.
“The brand PlatbaMobilom has been established by all three major telco operators in Czech Republic in 2011.
The primary aim of this brand is to instruct the market concerning all kinds of mobile payments via operators, primarily via the website platbamobilom.sk.
“This step helps us keep mobile payments environment “worry free” for our customers”, says Ales Houska, Association of Mobile Network Operators CZ.
What does the future hold?
As we can see above some DCB brand initiatives are happening on some local levels, but what if the MNO groups get involved. How much more powerful would it be if the groups of Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison, Orange, O2, Telenor … with their local brands all over the world start talking and come up with a harmonized sign/symbol which can then be localized per country but is still globally recognizable.
Meg Whitman, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, once said: “When people use your brand name as a verb, that is remarkable.”
Can you imagine a future in which DCB will be as common name as PayPal or MasterCard? A time where DCB will be on top of people’s minds when initiating any payment transaction?
DIMOCOs vision is that someday soon two friends will stand in front of the snack vending machine and one will say to another: “I don’t have coins, I’ll just DCB it.”
“Building a strong brand won’t happen overnight, it takes time, careful planning and adjusting to the fast-paced lifestyle of consumers. We think that a solid brand strategy is one of the key factors to strengthen the position of DCB in the payment sector”, indicates Reka Matyas of DIMOCO Carrier Billing.
The MNO Competence Center team consists of eight team members of five nationalities and is headed by Reka Matyas who acts as the division’s Vice President. They award-winning team has played a major role in DIMOCO being announced as a Tier 1 DCB vendor by ROCCO (Roaming Consulting Company Ltd) in 2018 and 2019 and is responsible for developing and ensuring the company remains a leading provider for direct MNO connections in Europe, with additional connections around the globe.
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