Skype Allows Users to Charge for Calls

A beta of a new service launched by Skype Wednesday night will allow any user with the most current version of the popular communications client charge for voice and video calls placed to their account.

Dubbed "Skype Prime," users have the option to either charge by the minute or a single charge for the entire call. Fees would be taken out of the caller's Skype Credit account, and the called party would receive 70 percent of the proceeds collected, payable through PayPal.

Skype says that such a feature has been a common request from its users, especially since SkypeOut was launched in 2004.

"I'm happy to finally see us rolling this out, and I'm sure it will enable a whole new range of businesses," Skype's Jaanus Kase wrote in the company Web log Wednesday. "So nothing will change in our free global Skype-to-Skype calling, but on top of it, you can now have paid calls if you want."

The company says this offers benefits to global businesses wishing to charge for phone calls. Currently, premium landline numbers can only be accessed within the country they're based. With Skype Prime, companies could make their services available worldwide.

Users of the Windows client with a PayPal account would be the first to gain access to the new functionality. Both sides would need to have Skype version 3.1.0.134 installed. Other platforms are to be added in the near future.

Kase said that Skype Prime shows what the "power of three" could do -- that being eBay, Skype, and PayPal.

"It's to date one of the more interesting integrations we have done in the wider eBay family, with Skype Buttons on eBay listings being the previous example, and more to surely follow," he added.

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