Direct Carrier Billing VS Credit Card Payments


The use of mobile payment services is constantly increasing and facilitating the growth of digital services all around the world. Direct carrier billing is an online payment method that enables consumers to pay for services via their mobile devices. Payments can be initiated through smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and other internet-enabled devices. consumers are charged through their prepaid or postpaid mobile phone bill.

According to Juniper Research, The value of DCB-initiated payments for digital content is expected to grow from $37 billion in 2020 to $100 billion by 2025, showing huge potential for the carrier billing market. Here’s a deep dive into direct carrier billing as a payment method: 


Unparalleled Convenience

One major advantage of direct carrier billing payments is its seamless checkout process. For example, the user decides to subscribe to a monthly plan for a video-on-demand app. At the checkout page, a range of payment options appears, one of which is “Pay By Mobile.” 

DCB payments make it easier for people to pay for digital services in a frictionless way by simply using their mobile phone number. There’s no need for a full-page registration (we’ve all experienced those lengthy checkout processes). This is typically the main reason for high basket abandonment rates in card payments. In as few as 6 taps, the user can pay right at the tip of their fingers — anytime, anywhere. 



Direct carrier billing payments enable a fast, easy and secure online payment flow and spare consumers from sharing their personal data or banking information online, the carrier holds your secure information so you don’t have to share it.  This is due to the two-factor authentication, ensuring that every transaction made using a mobile device is deliberate.

A PIN Code or a one-time password (OTP) with a validity period being generated, provides an extra layer of security to safeguard transactions against fraudulent activities. This level of security and transparency is becoming increasingly important for consumers, and customer satisfaction is key.


Expands Market Reach

Globally, many carrier subscribers have limited access to debit/credit cards, it’s therefore important to offer alternative payments… DCB makes for a viable option alongside a credit card, PayPal, Skrill etc, without the cannibalisation of these methods. 

The adoption of direct carrier billing is expected to grow even further, especially in countries with many underbanked communities. About 80% of mobile device owners across the globe do not have a credit card, many of them either live in emerging markets with low credit card penetration or simply don’t have one. Therefore, enabling DCB makes for a great opportunity for merchants to tap into customer bases that lack access to regulated financial services, increasing the chances of higher revenue


Payment Flow

Credit cards involve a few key stakeholders. Problems can occur with the cardholder’s bank as they need to approve or decline the transaction based on the credit limit available. They then send back an approval or denial code to the merchant through the card association and payment processor. – this whole transaction can take up to 48 hours, a pretty lengthy process, right?… 

Meanwhile, direct carrier billing works differently. It validates the purchase of a consumer through a one-time password, as mentioned previously. The OTP text message will be sent out to the given mobile number. Once completed, the consumer will be charged to their mobile phone bill. How simple does that sound?


Growth Potential

By 2025, it is predicted that there will be over 18 billion mobile devices (over 2 mobile devices for each human on earth!). With this statistic in mind, direct carrier billing is the payment method with the widest reach and key for internationalisation. The number of unique mobile subscribers is on a steady rise and is expected to reach >80% penetration rate by 2025, it can be expected that DCB will present huge growth opportunities alongside the increasing number of mobile consumers. 

Anyone with a mobile phone can make payments via DCB. It is a payment method available worldwide. Its global coverage, coupled with its intrinsic advantages of security, simplicity and speed, make it a real alternative in the global payments ecosystem. For these reasons, it provides a great opportunity for businesses to increase their revenues and achieve higher conversion rates.


Fonix is a leading mobile payments and interactive services business for companies across media, charity, gaming, ticketing, transport, and other digital services. 

Our passionate and focused team have a proven track record and are trusted by hundreds of clients worldwide, to ensure they reap all of the rewards of direct carrier billing. Get in touch