What IsCarrier Billing?

Carrier billing is a mobile payment type that involves charging the purchase amount to the mobile phone bill or deducting it from the prepaid balance.

This is useful for making micropayments for digital products and services in addition to other types of transactions. To carry out the payments, the user’s mobile operator must support carrier billing technology. This payment option existed before smartphones and is still widely available due to its convenience and reliability.  

How Does Carrier Billing Work?

The carrier billing process begins with the customer selecting a digital product or service and choosing carrier billing as the payment method in the checkout stage. Next, the user will often need to verify their identity using a one-time password, PIN code, or biometric verification. This depends on the security measures and billing type of the carrier. 

Once the authorization is successful, the system adds the cost of the content or service to the customer’s mobile phone bill or deducts it from the prepaid balance. The mobile carrier will then transfer the money to the content provider or app store, finalizing the transaction. 

3 Types of Carrier Billing


PSMS, or premium SMS, type of carrier billing is when the user makes a payment from their mobile phone number with premium-rate text messages. The charge for the service then goes to the user’s mobile phone bill. There are two forms of PSMS payments: 

  • Mobile-terminated SMS billing: The user is billed upon receiving an SMS message from the business

  • Mobile-originated SMS billing: The user is billed upon sending an SMS message to a specific dedicated short code

2. Direct Carrier Billing

Direct carrier billing (DCB) is a more streamlined method of billing where users don’t need to log in, register, or send a text message to make a payment. This is especially common for accessing premium content on mobile websites and applications. To offer this service, carriers often need approval from their central bank. This is because since their product becomes a financial service—besides their usual carrier services. 

One common form of DCB is Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) billing. It involves making one-click purchases from a phone via a WAP browser or application. The WAP platform detects the phone’s MSISDN (Mobile Subscriber Integrated Services Digital Network Number) which is in the SIM card. Then, the WAP notifies the mobile provider to charge the customer for the purchase. 

3. NFC

Near-Field Communication payment allows users to make purchases by tapping their NFC-enabled smartphones against a point-of-sale terminal or another NFC-enabled phone. By using this convenient and secure method, customers can make various transactions and online payments. The amount is then charged to their mobile phone bill.

Top 4 Advantages of Carrier Billing

1. Easy to Use

The user-friendliness of carrier billing simplifies the transaction process for users. It doesn’t require adding long and detailed information regarding the payment. Customers can easily make purchases with just a few clicks. This creates a positive payment experience for users, especially for those who find traditional payment methods long and inconvenient. 

2. Easy to Access

One of the best advantages of mobile carrier billing is its accessibility. Customers can easily access carrier billing services through their smartphones, tablets, or feature phones. Since the payment method is linked to the phone bill, the user won’t need to log in each time they need to complete a transaction. This is unlike mobile wallets, which often require login credentials and two-factor authentication. This accessibility is also beneficial for customers who don’t use credit cards or traditional banking methods. 

3. Reliable

Carrier billing uses the solid infrastructure of mobile carriers, making it a reliable payment solution. The robust systems of telecommunication companies boost the reliability of transactions and minimize the likelihood of failed payments. This is essential for customers who rely on seamless transactions to access digital content or make in-app purchases. 

4. Trustworthy

The involvement of reputable telecom providers in the transactions makes carrier billing a trusted method for customers. Users often have an established relationship with their mobile service providers. This creates a level of trust and assures customers that their payments are secure in the hands of telecom companies. 

5 Common Use Cases of Carrier Billing

1. Digital and Virtual Products

Customers can use carrier billing to buy digital products, like mobile apps, e-books, and software. They can also use this payment method to purchase in-app content without the need for a credit card.

2. Online Gaming

In the case of online gaming, carrier billing allows for in-game purchases, buying virtual currency, and upgrades. Gamers can unlock features, purchase items, and carry out micro-transactions within games. 

3. Music Streaming

Carrier billing offers music enthusiasts an effortless way to sign up for music streaming services. Users can easily access premium content and pay for their subscriptions directly via carrier billing. 

4. City Parking

Mobile carrier billing can also be practical for real-world scenarios like city parking. It offers a hassle-free way for users to pay for their parking fees, making it accessible for urban services. 

5. Public Transport Tickets

Carrier billing makes it easy to purchase tickets for trains, buses, subways, and other transit services. Commuters can pay for transportation needs seamlessly and efficiently with their mobile phone accounts