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Apple brings carrier billing for iTunes to Germany

Apple has launched a new way to pay for App Store and iTunes purchases, using carrier billing. iPhone users in Germany can now charge Apple purchases to their monthly phone bill if their contract is with O2.

What this means is that for the first time, customers can pay for songs, movies and apps without having to a register a credit or debit card with Apple. This potentially opens up digital transactions to a wider audience, or at the very least gives existing users more choice.

O2 customers in Germany can now add their phone number as a primary billing option in their Apple ID account settings. All future purchases and subscriptions will be charged to the user’s phone bill, or debited from a prepaid credit for those without contracts.

It looks as though this limited rollout of a new payment option will be used to trial the feature before (presumably) a much wider global rollout further down the line. Apple has declined to comment at this point, though, and O2 don’t know anything about the proposed expansion plans for the service.

Carrier billing could be a huge deal for “emerging economies, where card use is far lower and many consumers might not even have bank accounts.” It shows Apple is trying to make its services more accessible for all demographics.

So even if you’re not an O2 customer living in Germany, if this initial run is a success it might not be long until you can consolidate all your digital purchases onto your phone bill.