Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is trialling a mobile person-to-person payments service that lets customers send and receive money instantly using SMS text messages.
The RBC Mobex payment service is being piloted by bank employees and their family and friends until January 2009, with a wider trial expected to follow.
To make a payment, participants send a text message to RBC Mobex with the dollar amount and the recipient's mobile number. Funds are then taken from the sender's stored value Mobex account and moved to the recipient, who receives a notification text message.
Up to $100 per day can be sent to anyone with a mobile phone serviced by a Canadian wireless carrier, even if they do not have an RBC Mobex account, as long as they have registered for the service.
Trial participants can remotely track and manage their account directly from their mobile phone or through the RBC Mobex site to check balances, view payment history and add funds. For transactions of over $25, senders receive a call to verify the transaction with a PIN.
Anne Koski, head, payments innovation, RBC, says: "We're testing this mobile phone service to find out if consumers are eager to instantly send and get cash when it's needed most, in an easy but secure manner."
RBC says there are no additional fees to use the service but users are subject to any regular bank or wireless carrier charges and fees.
Last year the bank teamed with Visa to launch a NFC-based mobile payments trial featuring the card firm's contactless payWave application.