Direct carrier billing is a convenient alternative to cards for millions of users. But for those without cards, it’s a route to healthcare, education and vital utilities. In this DCB video supported by Bango, Fernando Luciano, director of digital services and innovation at Telefônica Vivo, explains why.

Most people think of direct carrier billing (DCB) as something that works best with entertainment – paying for virtual goods in a mobile game; buying a music track; subscribing to a TV service.

Fair enough. In the more mature markets, this is exactly where DCB has found most adoption.

But in developing markets, the payment method is reaching across many more activities. When the majority of people don’t have credit cards, pay by mobile offers a convenient and widely available medium for electronic transactions.

Brazil is a case in point.

According to Abecs data, transactions using credit and debit cards contribute 29 per cent of private consumption in Brazil, compared to as much as 85 per cent in wealthier countries.

In fact, an estimated 55 million of Brazilian adults are unbanked, while more than 20 million lack access to any banking service whatsoever.

In this context, DCB is opening the door to services such as e-healthcare, virtual learning, insurance and bill payment.

Telefonica’s Vivo brand has launched pioneering products in these areas. For example, it teamed up with Zurich Insurance to offer cover against identity theft, reputation damage and more.

We are working with companies like Bango to bring other global merchants to Brazil. We know that users are asking for that. We see the volume of downloads of virtual goods increasing, so the goal is to bring in more relevant partners with more relevant services.”

It also created the Vivo Ligue Saúde service which, for just $2 a week, provides emergency cover and preventative weekly healthcare tips through SMS messages.

Fernando Luciano, director of digital services and innovation at Telefônica Vivo, says DCB now applies across nine business lines. Naturally, entertainment is at the core of these offers. Indeed, Vivo recently launched Studio Plus short form TV content and also the music video platform WatchMusic.

But Luciano adds that DCB is not just about access. It is also about transparency.

“DCB solves the issue of consumer acceptance because we have a huge number of customers in Brazil without credit cards,” he says.

“But it’s also good for clarifying customer queries. It’s easy for people to check their balances. And we have a customer care structure in place that lets them easily call and find out exactly what they are paying for. We find there are fewer complaints, so the business is more sustainable.”

Luciano adds that DCB helps Telefonica Vivo to reduce churn. By offering more added value services in a convenient manner, the operator keeps subscribers from moving to rivals. This is especially important in Brazil, where four MNOs (Vivo, TIM, Claro, Oi) are relatively evenly matched. As of September 2017, Vivo had 75 million subscribers

Luciano says he is now working on closing more content partnerships to maintain the momentum of DCB. “We are talking to business partners such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and Samsung,” he says.

“And we are working with companies like Bango to bring other global merchants to Brazil. We know that users are asking for that. We see the volume of downloads of virtual goods increasing, so the goal is to bring in more relevant partners with more relevant services.”

The Executive Insights: Carrier Billing Global Outlook and Opportunities Video Series is supported by Bango

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