PayPal to Support Payment by Text Message

Online payment service PayPal has announced it’s prepping PayPal Mobile, a new service whereby users will be able to pay for purchases or initiate money transfers using mobile phone text messaging. PayPal Mobile is expected to launch by mid-April in the United States, Canada, and the U.K., with the service rolling out in additional markets in the coming months. PayPal is currently registered to transfer funds online in 55 countries, and boasts more than 100 million accounts.

PayPal will offer options to send payments over the phone using text messages, or by calling an automated system and using voice commands to conduct a transaction. When PayPal received a purchase request via text message, it will apparently call back the mobile phone to verify the request; users must enter a PIN to confirm the transaction.

PayPal’s enormous account base and generally accepted customer verification procedures position the company to become a mobile e-commerce leader, particularly in developing markets and other regions where online transactions are more likely to take place via mobile phones rather than via computer. Several firms already offer similar services, including TextPayMe; mobile phone operators in Europe, Australia, Japan, and other parts of Asia have offered mobile payment services for some time.