Digital Technologies and Video on Demand solutions provider Discover Digital, has brought a new level of simplicity to billing interfaces to market with the launch of its Common Operator Billing Interface (COBI) solution.
COBI, initially designed to meet the needs of Discover Digital’s telco clients, is proving so effective as a billing and payment switch that it is now set to benefit service providers across multiple industry verticals.
Stephen Watson, Executive Director of Discover Digital, says COBI was developed to address the challenge of integrating multiple partners’ billing systems. “In our work with telcos on taking a digital Value Added Service (VAS) to market, one of the key processes is billing integrations. Telcos typically have a number of billing partners like banks for credit card merchant services; third party voucher service; and the telcos’ own BSS partners for Charge to Bill, data balance debits or mobile wallets. What ends up happening is you might have up to nine integrations into your VAS solution.”
Discover Digital set out to reduce the complexity of multiple integrations. “We felt multiple integrations into our own environment presented inefficiencies, risk, more requirements for troubleshooting and more opportunities for things to go wrong. We decided to build a common interface so that a single integration is needed into a telco, after which all other integrations are done just between the transaction switch and the third parties,” says Watson.
Developed in South Africa under a service agreement with Discover Digital International, COBI aggregates payment and billing systems, and can interlink with multiple banks, loyalty services, mobile wallets and the client’s own billing systems. It also features its own vouchering capability and can be configured for loyalty programmes. “A significant advantage to aggregating all of your payment systems through one solution is that you can harness advanced analytics across the entire spectrum of the customer base. You can look at how many transactions are mobile money based, the success of vouchers vs loyalty, and so on. This consolidates it all and delivers very useful analytics on your consumers,” says Watson.
COBI is not unique to the digital services industry and can be rolled out for any industry as a middleman between a service and third party vendors.
COBI dramatically reduces time to market and risk for VAS, Digital and E-commerce Service providers looking to offer multiple billing options, fully customisable digital vouchering and cross platform billing analytics reporting. Clients can activate multiple billing options quickly via a single API integration to COBI, which subsequently manages multiple integrations with selected billing and loyalty partners, fully codable digital voucher for single assets, subscription services, COBI’s own e-wallet, VAS wallets and bespoke promotions.
COBI now supports additional payment options for the South African market, including Instant EFT real time secure payments from five major banks; Bank EFT via Sage Pay at any of the four major South African banks; cash payments using a barcode presented to participating retailers including Checkers, Checkers Hyper, Shoprite, OK, USave, House & Home, and the SA Post Office; and payments via a Masterpass online digital wallet.
“This standalone product is now commercially available to a global market and we believe it has significant potential,” says Watson. “We have already had interest in the solution from some mainstream US services who are looking into the costs of billing integration systems in Africa.”