Facebook goes Bango for mobile payments through carriers

The social network will now accept payments from users through carrier services in the U.S., U.K., and Germany.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Facebook's new payment method, thanks to Bango.
Facebook's new payment method, thanks to Bango. Bango

Facebook now supports mobile payments through carriers, thanks to a partnership with Bango.

The mobile payments company today announced its Facebook partnership, saying that folks who use the social network's mobile app can now purchase digital goods through carrier billing. Users will be asked to confirm a purchase, and then the charge will show up on their carrier bills, according to Bango.

Bango's payment service is available only in the U.S., U.K., and Germany at the moment. The company promises to make it available elsewhere in the coming months.

By going with Bango, Facebook might increase its chances of getting mobile customers to buy products. According to Bango, 77 percent of those who click "buy" on a digital good and use the Bango platform will actually complete the purchase. In traditional carrier billing models, that conversion rate is closer to 40 percent, Bango claims.

Still, the partnership between Bango and Facebook underscores mobile's importance to the social network. Soon after Facebook went public in May, the company was criticized for having few options to monetize its mobile growth. As of the summer, Facebook had nearly 550 million mobile users, monetized mainly through advertising.

But at a discussion before investors earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that mobile is the future for his company. In fact, Zuckerberg went as far as to say that Facebook is now a "mobile company," and he has instructed his team to double down on mobile.

"We think we'll make a lot of money" from mobile, he said.

Zuckerberg didn't mention Bango in his discussion, but it's clear that the service will play at least some role in Facebook's plans for increasingly monetizing the Web.

Aside from Facebook, Bango currently works with a host of companies to handle their mobile payments, including Electronic Arts, Fox, and Gameloft.