Last updated: 15 June 2023
If you can carry your favourite casino games in your pocket, why not carry your gaming funds, as well? And we don’t mean like a stack of cash in your wallet, but rather on your phone. Boku is one of the payment solutions that allow you to make safe casino deposits on the go by charging deposits to your phone bill. How cool is that? On this page, we take a closer look at Boku and how the banking process works when you use it to play at Boku online casinos. Our comprehensive Boku review contains all the info you’ve been searching for, from fees and timeframes to the best casinos and bonuses you can enjoy as a Boku user.
Boku is a mobile payment processing company that allows customers to charge digitally presented goods and services to their mobile number. Boku was founded in 2008 by Mark Britto, Erich Ringewald and Ron Hirson. In 2009, Boku acquired DCB (Direct Carrier Billing) companies Mobilcash and Paymo, then shortly after launched its DCB service. Boku has its North American headquarters in San Francisco and European headquarters in London, UK. The firm does business from multiple additional locations, including Beijing, Paris, Riga, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and San Jose.
It is common for DCB to be often used in markets where credit/debit card ownership is low. However, Boku is more focused on developed markets. The company has found that in developed markets, the ease of setting up and making DCB payments becomes a powerful tool for expanding the customer base for digital content to users who are typically unwilling or unable to pay by means of credit/debit card.
When you pay with Boku, the charge is deducted from the balance on the phone account at the time of the transaction. If the user does not have sufficient funds, the transaction will be declined. Both postpaid and prepaid mobile users can benefit from Boku. It is worth mentioning that Boku does not support prepaid phone from Verizon, MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Cricket or AT&T. Some of the world’s largest digital merchants, companies like Apple, Google, Sony, Spotify and Netflix, have partnered with Boku.
- February 2023: RBI Grants In-Principle Approval to Boku IN as a Payment Aggregator.
- September 2022: Boku to Enable Mobile Payments for Amazon Prime Video in Selected Countries.
- March 2022: Boku Transfers its ID Verification Business to Twilio to Focus on Mobile Payments.
- November 2021: Boku expands its M1ST payment network by entering the Thailand market. The company also integrates Thailand’s most popular mobile wallets, Rabbit LINE Pay and TrueMoney.
- September 2021: The company partners with Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, and O2 to introduce Verify and Authenticate solutions in Germany.
- August 2021: Boku debuts the M1ST (Mobile First) payments network supporting more than 330 mobile payment services.
- May 2021: Boku strikes a deal with the largest mobile operator in Kazakhstan, Kcell, and completes the first integration of a mobile operator into the Google Standard Payments platform.
- April 2021: French carriers Orange, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom, partner with Boku to include mobile identity services created to protect users from digital fraud.
- June 2020: LINE Pay Japan and Boku ink a deal to allow Japanese merchants to accept digital payments through the Boku platform.
Boku is not available worldwide, but the company is working on expanding into more attractive markets. Currently, Boku is available in more than 60 countries, servicing over 250 mobile networks in various countries. Its main market for years has been the United Kingdom and Ireland, where customers of mobile providers such as EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 can benefit from the services offered by the Boku Pay by Mobile solution. At this point, the Boku system covers over 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 9 in the Americas and 8 in the Asia-Pacific region.
To provide its services to European countries like Spain, Poland and Romania, Boku plugged into the network previously built by Pay with Orange Bill API. Boku is also available in Canada, to users serviced by mobile carriers such as Bell Canada and TELUS Mobility. In 2013, Boku acquired Qubecell, India’s largest carrier billing company and ventured into conquering this Asian market with great potential.
You must own a mobile phone and number
Before you can make a payment via Boku, you need to have your mobile phone at your side and a registered mobile phone number with one of the phone network carriers associated with Boku. This can be EE, Vodafone, Three or O2, for example.
Make sure that your mobile balance has enough credit
You will not be able to make a deposit with Boku if you don’t have enough credit on your phone balance. Payments are deducted from your existing balance. Pay special attention to this if you are a prepaid/pay as you go mobile user.
Keep track of your phone billing
If you use contract mobile billing (settle your phone bills monthly), you should expect Boku charges to be added on your next phone bill. The charges will be displayed on the bill for you to pay along with your monthly mobile network services.
Once you have picked out one of the trusted casinos accepting Boku deposits and you’ve made sure that your mobile operator supports Boku services, you can go on and make a successful deposit in half a minute.
- Go to the casino cashier and select mobile payments. In some cases, you will be offered options such as Pay by Phone or Pay by Mobile, so go for those to eventually choose Boku as your preferred option.
- Enter the amount you wish to deposit and then enter your mobile telephone number. A confirmation SMS will be sent you the number you’ve entered.
- You will have 24h to type “Y” and send a reply to confirm the payment. As soon as you do this, the funds will be transferred to your online casino account. The cost of the casino deposit Boku will appear on your monthly phone bill or will have already been deducted from your existing phone credit.
As for withdrawals, Boku does not handle them in any capacity. The lack of any withdrawal functionality is certainly not something that we are pleased with, but you can always withdraw your casino winnings via other means. Who knows, maybe someday it will be possible to store cashed out winnings in your mobile account. At this moment, it is not.
Boku doesn’t charge users any service fees for making deposits through your mobile phone. However, some casinos with Boku apply transaction fees to every deposit made through it. These cases are rare, but they do happen and the fees can be in the range from 5% to 15%. Make sure to check this on the casino’s banking page before you make a deposit.
Your mobile phone operator may also add fees in the sense that you might need to cover standard SMS rates for payment authorisation and other messages related to using Boku. Additionally, if you don’t pay your phone bill on time, your mobile carrier will most likely charge you extra collection fees.
Online casino deposits with Boku are carried out right away. There are no complicated bureaucratic banking procedures involved, so your deposit will be credited as soon as you confirm the payment on your phone. Depending on your status – whether you are a prepaid or a post-paid mobile user – you will have the funds deducted from your mobile credit or receive the charges on your next mobile service invoice.
Currently, you can’t make online casino withdrawals using Boku. So, you will need to pick out an alternative method to cash out, in which case the timeframe of your withdrawals will depend on the method you chose and the request processing period required for the casino cashier team to green-light your withdrawal.
As you very well know by now, every casino is free to establish individual minimum and maximum deposit and withdrawal limits. The customers are required to respect these limits. In the case of Boku, the system itself has certain limitations in place that you need to be mindful of. For instance, you can only deposit £30 per day, no more. You can make smaller deposits, £10 for example; make sure to always enter a round number when you deposit, otherwise an error message will be displayed.
Why are these limits so low? This policy adheres to mobile payment guidelines. Let’s say you lost your phone or it was somehow compromised in a way that you’d be vulnerable to losing money. For the purpose of protecting your funds, low maximum caps are in place.
Boku does not require registration, so it doesn’t collect any of your sensitive information, personal or financial. The only data collected is your phone number, and even this is treated with the utmost of discretion and privacy.
All user data is encrypted anytime it is sent over the internet. The system adds three layers of protection. Boku Authenticate is a software feature that protects phone numbers by linking them directly to the system, no one-time-passwords required.
If you have any questions about charges on your phone bill or Boku service in general, you can visit their corporate website and fill in a short form to submit your query. You can visit the FAQs section on the support page of the site as well. Boku also provides support via email, the primary email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The relevant email address can be found on Boku’s payment panel and the SMS received when making a payment. They aim to respond to emails submitted within 24-48 business hours. Boku provides first-line support in over 20 languages; the support lines are open during business hours for the local market, and the majority of phone calls are answered within 90 seconds.
Our experience with Boku support
To reach out to the Boku support team, we first visited the Support page on their website. This is an FAQ page with a “Submit a request” option at the top. The page contains an online form with multiple fields, most of them being mandatory. We tried to find an email on the page but failed. Therefore, we submitted the form and received a reply within half an hour. Although this was fast, the answer was unsatisfactory.
We received some general information, which wasn’t enough to answer our question. We replied to this email asking again what we needed, and once more, we received almost the same answer. Nevertheless, we must say that Boku support is efficient and professional.
There isn’t much feedback online regarding how users feel about the Boku service, but we have no reason to believe they are dissatisfied. More and more casinos are incorporating Boku into their cashier departments to make deposits convenient for players who don’t want to reveal their banking details. This means they are doing it right.
Obviously, there are restrictions to the service that may not be suitable for everyone – the phone carrier needs to cooperate with Boku and also there are rather low limitations for payments. High rollers are not favoured by Boku. On the other hand, casual players will see the possibility to only make small deposits as a reasonable and responsible way to play real money casino games online.
Boku’s supporting products include:
- Boku Checkout: allowing merchants to accept payments from hard-to-reach users via their mobile number
- Boku Account: allowing phone numbers to be stored securely on file and for merchants to complete charges without the consumer having to re-enter payment details on subsequent purchases. Boku Account supports 1-Tap registration.
- Boku Acquire: a tool to support carrier bundling programmes, where customers subscribe for products such as music streaming services, anti-virus software or cloud storage.
In 2012, Boku partnered up with MasterCard, enabling consumers to shop, receive and redeem personalized offers at MasterCard merchants through their mobile phone using Boku Accounts. People who sign up for a Boku Account can get a mobile and online account powered by MasterCard Prepaid. Once you subscribe, you can get targeted offers through SMS, email, push notifications and mobile apps.
Did you know that there are more active SIM cards on the planet than there are humans? Smartphone penetration is not far behind, with approximately 4 billion in use worldwide, ranging from the most upmarket expensive iPhones to widely affordable Android devices. Boku works with all of these devices. The best thing about it is that it has no software or apps to install. Your mobile carrier has already made sure that you can use Boku with the only requirement of having a registered phone number.
Boku is a system of direct carrier billing. This means that when you solicit a payment using Boku, the processor will first charge the phone network you are using which will then transfer the cost by adding the deposited amount to your next monthly phone invoice. If you’re using a prepaid or pay as you go phone, the charge will be deducted from the existing credit at the time of the transaction. If we may say so, it is a very effective approach and utterly convenient for mobile users/online casino players worldwide.
Boku has collected multiple awards and recognitions; Mobile Trax awarded Boku their Mobility Award in 2011. Forbes selected Boku for their 25 most promising companies in America in 2011 and 2013. Boku won the Best Alternative Payments award at 2014 Payment Awards. Also, Boku won Best Aggregator at 2018 and 2019 Global Direct Carrier Billing Awards.
Companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, PayPal, Spotify, Square, Sony and Western Union use Boku to simplify sign-up, acquire new paying users and prevent fraud.
More than $5 billion in value was processed through the Boku platform in 2019, an increase of more than 40% when compared to 2018 results. This value has increased nine-fold since 2016.
Boku is also a Japanese word. It is an expression used only by men. Originating from words like geboku (manservant) and kouboku (public servant), this word’s popularity began to spread among the younger generation as they’d use this to refer to themselves in a humble manner, looking to come across as polite and sophisticated.
Boku can provide you with a hassle-free deposit method for your online casino adventures, but it is not possible to withdraw your winnings to Boku. The system operates through your mobile billing provider which can’t store any money for you.
Using Boku is free of any additional charges. Most casinos don’t charge any fees from players depositing with Boku. However, there are exceptions, so be sure to check this on the casino banking page before carrying out the payment.
Absolutely. Boku does not share any of your personal and financial data, as you are not even required to provide such info to be able to use the service. Your personal mobile number and phone settings are all that is taken into account.
Boku is currently available in more than 60 countries around the world, mostly European countries, but also covers multiple regions in the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
Boku service is not available for casino withdrawals at this time.
Boku casino transactions fall under the watch of various authorities, including the Phone-Paid Service Authority (PSA) and Ofcom.
Boku doesn’t store any of your money. The funds that you transfer with Boku come from your mobile credit or get charged to your mobile bill. Once you confirm the payment, there is no way to reverse it.
Boku itself does not offer any currency conversion services. It will enable payments in the currency in which you pay for your mobile phone credit/monthly invoice. If you wish to exchange the currency at the casino, you will need to check with their conversion rates.
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