Google Checkout Now Supports WAP

More than a year ago, PayPal Mobile launched to great fanfare. As I noted at the time, it seemed a bit odd that they’d focus on person-to-person and physical goods payments and ignore mobile content completely. Now, some 15 months later, PayPal Mobile remains pretty invisible — as does any PayPal offering geared towards mobile content.

Enter Google Checkout, that company’s attempt at a PayPal-alike. It garnered some small early success, but mostly by offering people $20 off a purchase, or other enticements, if they used it. However, Google Checkout now has a WAP interface, so it can be integrated into mobile sites. While the Checkout help pages say “Use Google Checkout for mobile to purchase items that will be delivered to your shipping address”, it would appear that it could just as easily support the sale and delivery of digital items.

Checkout is offering merchants free transaction processing through the end of the year, then its standard rates will be 20 cents plus 2% of the value of the transaction, which is sure to beat the revenue-sharing deals operators offer for premium SMS. Checkout still faces plenty of other hurdles to becoming widely accepted both in general and in mobile, but offering mobile content providers a new payment mechanism is a much smarter way to approach mobile than PayPal’s shown yet.

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