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Windows Phone billing

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 1-Dec-2012 13:35

It is business as usual: we all have to give a publisher our credit card information so that we can buy apps, subscriptions, etc. One would think Microsoft would make it easier for every customer to give them money, but that is not so.

My main credit card, the one used for online purchases, expired yesterday so obviously it was time to update it so that I could continue buying apps for my smartphone.

So I go to windowsphone.com and see the following:

So far so good. I click "Edit payment info" and get this:

Bummer Microsoft, something wrong with your systems uh? By the way, "contact customer support" is just an helpful suggestion. It could be hyperlinked to a page with a real phone number to contact support. But not, it is not.  The "Contact Us" at the bottom leads to a page suggesting I contact my operator or OEM. Very unhelpful because neither has control over YOUR billing.

So I click "View billing info" which instead takes to me a page https://commerce.microsoft.com/PaymentHub/PaymentInstrument which seems to work:

 

That's my new credit card there. But it wasn't easy to get it there, because that page doesn't have any "Add payment option" link. I suspect it would be in the other page appropriately named "Edit payment info" that already spat out the dummy on me before.

The way I got that credit card there was by using the Windows Phone 8 Wallet app. It worked, but in a cumbersome way. It should work on the "Edit payment info" page but it didn't. I had to enter a new card in the Wallet app and check the box "Set up card for app and music purchases". Lucky there is an app for that, right?

Note though that unless you check the box to make the new card a payment option for your app purchases, it will not be stored anywhere else but on your phone. If you check the box to make the card a payment option for app purchases you are actually redirected to a page outside the app (no way to see the URL but I suspect linked to the Windows account) to add the card information. In effect it seems you are adding the card to the Microsoft account payment info and this is then downloaded to the phone. Works for me but. . .

When I started entering my data I was thinking "cool, I can enter the information here and once it syncs to the cloud I can restore the data in case this phone needs to be reset or if I get a new Windows Phone". The sync in this case exists only one way - from your Microsoft account to the phone. This means updates you make inside the Windows Phone Wallet to an existing credit card doesn't reflect on the Microsoft account - I tried, when my card expired and actually was told by the app to first delete the card online then go back to the app.

No problem, I hear you saying, just enter the data directly in your Microsoft account and it will flow to the phone. Except that as we saw before, one page brings an error and the other doesn't even have an option to add payment options. This means If I want a backup option then the way to go is setting up on the phone itself while having all credit cards set as "App purchase" options, which is not ideal.

Anyway, the card is loaded. I wonder if this was a problem with my account only and how it would have worked if I didn't have the Wallet app (like Windows Phone 7 users for example).

In the next post I will comment on the Windows Phone Wallet app itself and how it works (or it was supposed to).



Other related posts:
Windows Phone 8 Portico update: at last here in New Zealand
Windows Phone updates, again
More Windows Phone account troubles






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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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