Anam introduces SMS payments
The cheque will never be in the post again
Anam Mobile and TR2 Communications have launched a service allowing cash payments over SMS, but you'll have to wait until network operators implement it before chucking the cheques.
The system is certainly simple: the user just sends a text message in the form "#cash xxx.xx" to the person they want to send money to. The SMSC (which routes SMS messages) then intercepts and processes the request (including making a quick call back to the sender to confirm the details) and the money is transferred from one phone bill to another.
PayPal Mobile, the nearest comparable service, requires an SMS message to be sent to a short code in the format "send xxx.xx to xxxxxxxxxxx", though that does require the sender to have a PayPal account (and the recipient to set one up). Anam claims that with #cash neither party will need to be pre-registered with the service.
Using SMS to pay for things isn't a new idea; we managed to pay for a restaurant meal over SMS back in 2002, but Anam is betting that people still find it too complicated to pay by text, and if it can make it simple enough people will use it.
Most network operators have already flirted with the idea of becoming banks, and Anam will need them to get involved with #cash as they control the SMSCs needed to intercept the messages. ®