Boku Bingo Sites
- Boku is a mobile phone payment method
- It allows the cost of a deposit to be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from pay-as-you-go credit
- You can make a Boku deposit even if you never use your phone to play bingo
- Boku is very safe as the only information the bingo site needs is your phone number
- Boku cannot be used for withdrawals, only deposits
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- What is Boku?
- Using Boku
- Advantages of Boku
- Disadvantages of Boku
- The future
What is Boku?
Boku is a type of payment method called carrier billing - which charges deposits (or purchases) to your mobile phone. Boku's roots go back to the UK in 2003, when it was a small operation called Vidicom. Since then this award winning business has had some massive injections of cash from investors and now they are a global company working with over 300 carriers.
Boku's infrastructure spans 3 continents and in fact they are the largest independent carrier billing company in the world. They have already carved out a niche in the digital marketplace and are an established payment method in places such as the Google Play Store and Spotify. In these cases a Boku payment is being used to pay for a digital product that is downloaded to the phone that pays the bill - an obvious use of the technology. Boku have now started to move into areas where the product that is being paid for is not necessarily anything to do with the phone that pays the bill. For example, in June 2016 they secured partnerships with the UK carriers O2, Vodafone, EE and 3 to enable carrier billing to be used for the purchase of food and beverages at a number of high profile venues including Lord's Cricket Ground and the O2. Online bingo falls into this category because although the player CAN play bingo on their phone, they do not HAVE TO use their phone to play, but can access their account from a variety of devices.
To be able to use Boku as a payment method is not simply down to whether or not the bingo site accepts it. Your phone also has to be on a network that has partnered with Boku and although they do have a deal with all the major UK network operators, there are some resellers such as Tesco Mobile and giffgaff where there have reportedly been issues.
If you CAN use Boku, the process itself is very simple. After choosing the amount to deposit and selecting "Pay by mobile" in the cashier area of the bingo site, the Boku payment screen appears - and all you have to do is confirm the amount and enter your phone number. A text message will then be sent to your phone and in order to validate the payment you must reply to it. A further text confirms the payment has gone through (or notifies any problem). This process has many advantages:
Advantages of Boku
- No need to remember any passwords or numbers apart from your own phone number
- No need to send any bank account or card details over the internet, just your phone number
- Payment is authorised from your phone, so unless the phone itself is physically lost or stolen it is safe from fraud
- No need to have a credit card or even a bank account as Boku can use PAYG balance which can be topped up using cash
Disadvantages of Boku
Boku does have its drawbacks.
- It is not really suitable for heavy depositors as there is a daily payments ceiling of £30 and this is per phone number, not per bingo site.
- Nor is it possible to withdraw winnings using Boku; if you are lucky enough to win a significant amount not only will you need to specify an alternative payment method but you will also need to give the bingo site quite a bit more of your personal information to allow them to carry out "Know Your Customer" verification.
- Finally, it is important to check the terms and conditions of any bonus offer before you make a deposit using Boku, to ensure that you will still be eligible for the bonus.
Boku is clearly going places and we expect many more bingo sites to accept it in future. However, because of the daily limit and inability to process withdrawals it is unlikely to be used by many as their sole payment method. Its future may be mostly as an additional payment method enabling players to make deposits while out and about without the need to transmit any financial information over public wi-fi or mobile phone data service.