Facebook is making it easier and easier for users to buy that animal to add to their virtual farm. On stage at Mobile World Congress, a conference focused on mobile industry, Facebook chief technical officer Brett Taylor unveiled partnerships with many of the largest mobile network operators in the world to offer mobile billing.

Thomas Pieper / Flickr source

Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Vodafone, KDDI, and Softbank Mobile will allow subscribers to pay for their digital Facebook purchases by adding the charges to their monthly mobile-phone bill.

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Facebook users can pay for virtual goods and services, such as moose in the popular Farmville game, by entering their mobile phone number instead of a debit- or credit-card number during checkout.

The convenience factor is the most attractive aspect of this new functionality. While playing their favorite Facebook game, users can make a digital purchase wherever they are without having to pull out their payment cards and enter a long series of digits. Consumers are more likely to remember their phone numbers than their card account numbers.

Currently, Facebook has 850 million users worldwide, and more than 425 million users access the social networking platform through a mobile device each month.

Avoiding banks to pay for virtual currency

The announcement marks a distinction from Facebook’s partnership with Boku and Zong, two companies that lets users bill their mobile carriers for Facebook Credits, a virtual currency that is spent for digital goods on desktop apps, not mobile apps. Through the direct relationship with mobile carriers, Facebook extends the payment option to mobile space.

It is just another step for Facebook to keep users immersed in its platform and the games that are built on the platform — without having to type in card information.

Last month, the social media site began allowing users to sign up for advertiser offers to receive Facebook Credits. Users are able to collect the virtual currency by filling out a survey, opting in to trial Netflix or signing up for a Discover credit card.

And Facebook may come up with more ways to circumvent the need for a bank or credit card so that more users can strive to own the most fascinating virtual farm on the web.

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Simon Zhen

Simon is a research analyst for MyBankTracker. He is an expert on consumer banking products, bank innovations and financial technology.
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