I'm building a site which will notify users via SMS when there is a new job that meets their criteria. Currently they then have to login to the site and pay (via Paypal) for the lead details (if they are interested).

What we want to do is have them reply to the text, and we somehow automatically take the payment, then SMS them the details.

Now I know we can automatically take payments using a payment gateway so long as we store the credit card details. But due to the security required to store credit card details we'd ideally like to use a payment provider who can manage that side of things.

Paypal and Google checkout offer something similar, but its still based around monthly billing just with a variable amount. And in our case the payments could be any time.

  • I'm still working on this guys, but as all your answers are really useful I don't want to select just one as the answer - if there is any other way I can reward you? – Dale K Mar 23 '12 at 4:38

Chargify.com's usage based billing

"Chargify supports several kinds of usage-based billing, including metered-usage (ie, sales leads and text messages) and per-seat (ie, software license fees per user). This allows you to mix and match flat-rate product fees with variable usage-based fees to match your business and market needs. Usage of metered components is tallied throughout the billing cycle and the charge is seamlessly integrated as a line item on Customers’ next invoice."


  • I give you the answer not because its the only right one, but because its first. Thanks/ – Dale K Aug 9 '12 at 10:33

Have you considered using reverse SMS billing or direct mobile billing. One of these two would provide you with a faster way of charging for your service without the hassle for the user. Reverse SMS is pretty easy and quick to implement, though it might lead to bill shock so be careful.

Parkers car valuations is a good example of this type of service. You input your registration information and they provide an immediate valuation for 1.50 charged via your mobile account.

You may also find wiki's article on mobile payments interesting as it outlines the most popular mobile solutions in the field.


Authorize.Net's Customer Information Manager (CIM) API offers this functionality. Basically you create a customer payment profile on their server (i.e. they store the credit card details) and then you charge against it by passing them the profile ID whenever payment needs to be made.

  • 1
    Most subscription billing sites integrate directly with Authorize.net's CIM, chargify.com for example and others. I think this saves you on development costs PCI compliance issues, and Authorize.nets automated recurring billing costs extra i'm pretty sure. When using subscription billing sites you don't need the ARB from authorize.net and the API from chargify.com is much easier to work with than Authorize.nets IMO. Another plus to these sites is they handle upgrades/downgrades to monthly plans and the prorating. Something that would cost a lot to develop from scratch – Anagio Mar 7 '12 at 13:20

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