National pay by text service coming to the UK next year
15th Jan 2013 | 20:23
Opt-in database coming next spring
We don't really send that many texts anymore, but the UK Payments Council is working on a solution that'd give the good old-fashioned SMS an ultra-modern new purpose.
Amid a sea of mobile payment methods springing up over the last couple of years, users in the UK will be also be able to send and receive money just by sending a text, come the spring of 2014.
Members of the public will be asked by their banks whether they'd like to opt-in to a database which would tie their account details to their mobile phone number and allow for easy money transfers.
The BBC reports that the scheme is being backed by eight of the country's top financial institutions, including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Santander. The rest are being courted by the Payments Council.
The scheme is similar to the Barclays PingIt app, which enables users to send money to another using a mobile phone number, but requires users to set up a digital wallet account with the app.
PingIt allows payments of up to £750 every day and makes it easier to settle emergency borrows, pay back money to mates who buy concert tickets or to split dinner bills.
The launch of a nationwide database will make it easier to send and receive money as it will be directly tied to each user's bank account and will not require a separate front-facing account.
Passcodes will ensure the system is not misused or insecure, the Payments Council said.
The UK is actually playing catch-up in this field as the tech has already been in use in the developing world for a number of years.