Bango lifted by mobile tie-up with Facebook

SHARES in British mobile payments firm Bango soared yesterday as it launched a tie-up with Facebook to let the social network’s users make purchases on smartphones.

The service, which allows people to purchase extra content on Facebook – such as game extensions and virtual gifts – and charge it to their monthly network bill, will be operated by Bango in the UK, US and Germany.

Bango’s technology, known as mobile web carrier billing, is more convenient than paying via credit cards, and means more people complete transactions, according to the firm.

Shares in Aim-listed Bango rose seven per cent as the service launched yesterday, having risen by 40 per cent when the deal was announced in February.

Chief executive Ray Anderson, who founded the company in Cambridge in 1999, said: “As the mobile web experience has matured and improved, consumers are increasingly keen to purchase digital goods on mobile devices. By ensuring a frictionless payment experience, Bango technology is unlocking the business potential of the mobile web.”

Anderson said 77 per cent of transactions made through Bango are completed, compared with 40 per cent for those made with credit cards or by text message.

The new payments system will provide a boost to Facebook’s mobile revenues, which chief executive Mark Zuckerberg sees as crucial to the company’s success. The firm has struggled to make money from mobile advertising and is looking for new sources of revenue, including game purchases.

Bango has seen shares rise consistently over the last year as it launches tie-ups with mobile software developers to allow in-app purchases on smartphones. It now has clients including Amazon, Microsoft and Electronic Arts, although the tie-up with Facebook is its biggest deal to date.