7 On Your Side: Text To Pay - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/12/06

7 On Your Side: Text To Pay

  Heather O'Cull loves making plans to head out on the town. She recently bought several tickets to a show and when it came time for her friends to repay her... "I didn't want them to write me checks because it's such a pain to get to the bank," says O'Cull. 
  So instead of breaking out their checkbooks, Heather's friends broke out their cell phones! With a simple text message, they each transferred cash to Heather! C-NET's Brian Cooley says it's a convenient new way to move your money! "If you have a phone, it's always with you. It becomes part of your everyday life, so it's a very ubiquitous payment system," says Cooley. 
  How does it work? You sign up on a site like "Text-Pay-Me," "Obo-pay," or "Paypal Mobile."  All three allow you to send and receive funds--member to member--using your cell phone. With Paypal you can also text to buy from a limited number of merchants. 
  Kevin Dulsky with Paypal Mobile adds, "So you may see an advertisement for an item that you want, you simply send a text message, and you can buy that item right from your phone."  
  Like impulse shopper Mark Pundsack who likes to pay as quickly as he buys. He recently tried out Paypal Mobile and scored a new hat. "It was so fast that you kind of wonder if it really happened afterwards," says Pundsack. 
  To create an online account, you'll need to enter some personal information...like your name, address, and of course your cell phone number. Don't forget... "You do have to divulge your bank account number," says Cooley. 
  Each service operates differently, but the basic idea is the same. To pay someone...you text a code or command to the company along with the amount and the recipient's cell phone number. 
  Cooley adds, "Within a few seconds you'll get a message back that wants you to confirm and you enter a pin number." The money is then transferred to the recipient's website account.
  From there, it can be moved to a bank account or a check can be issued. Experts say the sites are safe. "They aren't like the internet where they're wide open and easily hacked," assures Cooley. Heather trusts the technology and uses Text-Pay-Me all the time! 
  "It makes life easier!," she says. While it's free to create an account, Obo-Pay does charge transaction fees. And unlike the other two sites you may need to download an application to your phone. Also, before you get started, check each web site to make sure your wireless carrier supports the service.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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