OneBip's mobile payment service officially launches in the UK

A new mobile payment service launched in the UK this week, designed to accommodate users who are keen to pay for smaller items online but wary of the potential security risks that come hand in hand with giving out bank or credit cards details.

OneBip essentially turns a user's mobile phone credit, for both contract and prepaid phones, into money that can be spent online with participating merchants.

The service was trialled earlier this year, during which time more than 600 sites committed to take OneBip payments and over 20,000 consumers signed up for accounts and made purchases.

Phone numbers are kept private so that users are not inundated with mobile marketing spam, according to the service's creators.

With support for all of the major mobile phone operators, OneBip is free for merchants and consumers to sign up to, with money being made on a commission basis much like traditional credit card payments today.

If a user's mobile is lost or stolen, as soon it is blocked by the operator any payment attempts will be automatically be declined.

"It has always been hard for online retailers to collect micropayments on their websites and consumers have traditionally been reluctant to use their credit cards for small online payments," said chief executive Marko Maras.

"Consumers are increasingly comfortable using their mobile phones as a payment method, which will help to generate a high volume of paying and recurring customers. The worldwide penetration of mobile phones will also help to generate more profits for online retailers and allow them to attract a new range of consumers."

OneBip is aimed primarily at people who want to make lower value payments, but actual individual or daily transaction caps do vary as they are set by the mobile operators.

"Think of it like the difference between notes and coins," said OneBip's president Diego Mortillaro.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.