I was just reading my good friend and peer Antoine RJ Wright‘s blog post from a little over a year ago in 2011 about ParkMobile. They are a service helping consumers pay for parking at meters and parking garages. They have a mobile app and phone in service, I like it a lot. Though Antoine brings up a very valid point… What about people that can’t get their mobile app? Maybe they’re on Symbian or Windows Phone? Why isn’t there a universal SMS option? A commenter named Kalju pointed out that some US cell phone carriers don’t allow for flexable premium SMS billing.
I had a thought, why don’t the credit card companies open a highely secure yet flexable API for apps and maybe even specifically SMS. Why Don’t the credit card companies allow for a 1 time registration with a mobile number and then allow customers to consimate micro transactions or allow for much larger transactions if they go through a more in depth verification process. Say you want to pay for parking at a meter, you just SMS the meter’s code to a certain number and include a dollar ammount to pay. Moments later the meter display shows how much time you’ve paid for and it starts counting down. Now the company who handles the service uses the API from the credit card company associated with this phone number to get paid. That’s it, done deal. The credit card company can take 2.75%, the parking service provider gets the rest of the 97.25% of the transaction and the customer never needs to carry change for a meter again. Plus the company whether it be ParkMobile or not has a much simpiler time dealing directly with the credit card companies.
I’m sure none of this is new news but I’m shocked I haven’t heard anything about API’s from credit card companies yet for app and service developers. Does this already exist and I’m just not aware of it?