Boku Inc., which lets consumers charge micropayments to mobile-phone bills, has begun offering its services in Estonia and Venezuela, according to Ron Hirson, a co-founder of the San Francisco firm.
The company operates in 58 countries, Hirson said. Consumers use Boku to purchase such digital goods and services as virtual currency for online games and pay fees for online dating sites. For instance, a consumer who wants to buy virtual currency to buy extra "lives" or other goods useful in online games would make the purchase through the game provider's Web site.
The consumer would confirm the purchase through a text message, and the charge would appear on the consumer's mobile-phone bill, eliminating the need to use a payment card and hence the merchant's need to pay interchange. The average transaction processed by Boku is $8 to $9, Hirson said.