This week the UK Payments Council announced that by Spring 2014 consumers will be able to submit and receive funds via SMS, a move that marries up an opt-in database of mobile phone numbers to customer bank accounts with 8 of the large retail banks including Barclays, HSBC, Santander, RBS and Lloyds Bank. The concept will be run by the Faster Payments service which processed over 800m online and telephone banking transactions in 2012 and the Link network, which processed 3.1bn ATM withdrawals.
In the UK, Barclays has already built up it’s success using the PingIt mobile app but this is a UK first for sending funds without the use of an interface and the Payments Council assures that all the necessary safeguards are in place to prevent fraudulent activity such as payment limits. A similar service already exists called M-PESA in Kenya and other African and Asian countries. Launched in 2009 it has over 17m account holders, proving that the platform for paying by text works successfully for small amounts. Additionally in Australia, company mHIT Ltd has been active since 2010 with its mobile micro payments service.
But while this may be nothing new it’s impact will be felt by those building mobile wallet apps because this will be the first kind of service in the UK to not require users to set-up an account with a separate service.
Will this kill off the mobile wallet before it’s even gotten out of the starting gate ?
It’s unknown which mobile network providers will back the new service but if NFC makes it mainstream (we still await Apple to integrate NFC technology into the iPhone for example) then it’s no stretch of the imagination for there to be some kind of integration between NFC and this service all being linked to your mobile number without the need for a wallet service.
The mobile landscape is changing rapidly and banking and payment services are fast catching up to this, which may leave third party apps out of pocket and with empty wallets.