While there’s certainly a lot of free apps in the Android marketplace nowadays, paid apps are where the action is at. Sadly, not every Filipino has access to a credit card – a 2008 survey by the Bank for International Settlements states that in the Philippines, only 3% of Filipinos own a credit card – which is usually the preferred payment method of choice for many apps available in the Android market. You’ll be happy to know that Smart is stepping in and will soon make it possible for their Android toting subscribers to be able to pay for apps and services using their prepaid and postpaid accounts.
“There are still a lot of mobile phone users in the world who do not own credit cards or online payment accounts, and are thus, not able to purchase apps and other digital products,” said Smart President Napoleon L. Nazareno. “By turning our subscribers’ airtime accounts into a means for payment, we have made it possible for developers to reach out to more potential customers,” he said.
So how does Smart accomplish this? Well, it’s done primarily through the Network Application Programming Interface (NAPI) created by the Wholesale Applications Community, a coalition of leading mobile operators around the world. The NAPI allows developers to charge users without having to connect separately with each mobile operator’s billing system or also known as “in-app operator billing”.
“The opening up of network APIs is a key focus for WAC ,” said WAC CEO Peters Suh. “This demonstrates our commitment to making it easier for developers to innovate and drive revenues and proves that successful collaboration between operators is a reality,” Suh said.
There are currently two Filipino made WAC enabled apps that will be able to take advantage of in-app operator billing – Chikka TopApp and Pinoy Book Reader by Oks Pinoy. From our understanding, as long as an app is approved/screened by a WAC-affiliated developer it’ll be able access WAC’s in-app billing platform.