In one of the most recent signs of the spread of so-called micropayments, U.S.-based start-up Boku Inc. late last year began enabling consumers in Estonia and Venezuela to pay for digital goods using mobile-phone accounts. A consumer who wants to buy virtual currency to acquire extra “lives” or goods useful in online video games, for example, would, after registering, 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.

Boku, which formed early last year, operates in nearly 60 countries, serves more than 1,000 merchants and processes payments for three of the top five game applications offered on social networking site Facebook, Ron Hirson, the firm’s co-founder and senior vice president of product, tells PaymentsSource.

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