THE PAYMENTS COUNCIL will launch a service next year enabling mobile phone users to pay for things via SMS messages, with the support of eight major UK banks.
Expected to launch in 2014, the service will allow users to make secure payments by sending a good old fashioned text message, which should mean that the scheme will work on even the dumbest of phones.
"The new service will enable secure payments to be made directly to or from an account without the need to disclose the sort code and account number, by simply using a mobile phone number as a proxy," the Payments Council explained.
Members of the public will be contacted by their bank to see if they want to opt-in to the service, the Payments Council said, with eight UK banks already signed up to use the service.
These banks are Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, HSBC Bank plc, Lloyds Banking Group plc, Metro Bank plc, Royal Bank of Scotland plc and Santander UK plc, and together they cover 90 percent of UK bank accounts. There are also talks ongoing with other banks.
Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council said, "The mobile payments project is a fantastic example of the unique role the Payments Council can play in delivering far-reaching, innovative improvements for customers.
"This new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend or pay a tradesman without needing to remember or share account details."
The text to pay scheme is similar to the Barclays Pingit app, which enables users to send money to others using a mobile phone number. µ