French m-payments technology vendor Upaid has launched Text cheque, an SMS-based service that enables merchants to accept bill payments made using mobile phones.
Upaid - which has its headquarters in Paris and development facilities in the UK - says the new service is a mobile alternative to the traditional cheque in the post or direct debit. Merchants send out bills by mail in the usual way, but also send customers a payments request by text. The customer can pay the bill by replying to the text message, stipulating the amount to be paid, which is then debited to the customer's bank account or credit card.
The vendor says many consumers do not sign up for direct debit because by doing so they would lose control of how much money is taken from their account. The new SMS system is a way for merchants to provide an alternative payment option to those customers.
Commenting on the service, Ashley Ward, CEO of Upaid, says: "It provides merchants - whether they are retailers or utilities - a much easier way of collecting bill payments, while consumers retain complete control over when and how much they pay."
The service is operated by IBM and is based on the same payment processing technology currently used by Visa CEMEA for its SMS-based pre-paid mobile top-up system.