A new PayPal-style person-to-person payment service that allows customers to send and receive funds using SMS text messages has been launched in the US.
The TextPayMe service, which is entering the public beta phase of testing, allows users to send money via their mobile phone, without having to install any new applications.
Customers set up accounts via the TextPayMe Web site which can be funded via bank accounts or paid for with credit cards.
To deliver a payment, a users sends a text message to the recipient stating the amount to be transferred. After the payment request, senders receive a phone call to verify the information. The vendor says this step protects customers from unauthorised payments if their mobile phone is lost or stolen.
The sender then enters a PIN to authorise the payment. Both the sender and the recipient will each receive a confirmation message when the payment is processed. The message will also ask them both to verify a security phrase contained in the text.
Funds are then debited from the senders' TextPayMe account and received by the recipient's account.
Founded in 2005 by a group of entreprenuers who had worked at Microsoft and Lockheed Martin, TextPayMe is a privately held firm based in Redmond, Washington.