Mobile cash system 'this year'
An industry-wide scheme to make sending cash via mobile phone as easy as texting will be in place this year, the UK payments body has said.
Customers who register for the service will have their mobile numbers and account numbers linked on a central database and the initiative will be available to banks and building societies before the end of 2012, the Payments Council said.
The service can be used by any smartphone with an internet connection on any network and is intended as a base for banks to build their own competitive services.
Huge leaps in mobile payment technology are set to take hold this year, with Barclays last week unveiling a free app enabling people to send and receive money by using mobile phone numbers.
Barclays plans to make the Pingit app available to all UK adults from next month, regardless of which bank or building society they use.
Richard Martin, head of innovation at the Payments Council, described mobile payments as a "rapidly developing marketplace" with "limitless" possibilities.
He said he expected the Payments Council's scheme would "co-exist" alongside a number of innovations.
Mr Martin said: "What we're doing is offering a common infrastructure that any institution can plug into. Our role will be to set out some minimum security requirements."
Mr Martin said the body had considered how the payments might be used, for instance paying a friend or relative or a sole trader such as a plumber or window cleaner, all cases in which cash or a cheque might traditionally have been used.
"Our proposition is giving consumers the option of simply and quickly firing off an electronic payment," he said.