Monday, September 19, 2005

Mobile Payment Service

From Yahoo News Use your cell phone instead of your credit card

A great idea, but eliminate one big step. Instead of phoning the 800 number, send a text to (MLIME) or whatever they chose and put restaurant's identifier as subject.

For starters, I tested Watertown, Massachusetts-based MobileLime. It's one of the first mobile payment systems in the United States that lets you use any cell phone on any carrier to pay for goods and services.

It gives a thief a field-day if he steals your phone. Maybe MobileLime could make the mobile user send back a password or special PIN number for verification.

MobileLime works only at merchants that have partnered with it. For now, the service is limited to a few dozen vendors in the Boston area and one in upstate New York.

Any SMS service could do the same thing if they got restaurants to register an identifier. The key to this will be a set platform. The last thing a consumer want is to ask the waiter/waitress "do you take 4INFO, Google, MobileLime, Qtags?"

Registering for MobileLime was straightforward: I went to the company's site, put in my phone and contact information, and then chose whether to link my phone number to my credit card or a prepaid account. Linking to a bank account is not yet an option, but MobileLime says that it will provide that service if customers ask for it.

I called MobileLime's toll-free number using my Treo 600. The automated system asked me for the restaurant's location number, a unique identifier assigned by MobileLime.

One question, how does the restaurant guarantee the funds are good?

Great find Walden.


Neil Hinrichsen said...

A far more sophisticated mobile payment system has just been launched in South Africa by mobile operator MTN together with Standard Bank, to give all their several million subscribers a low-cost bank account linked to their phones.

The system allows instant transfer of money between phones, purchases, withdrawals/deposits at ATMs, etc. The system (developed by a company called Fundamo) is already being used by operators in six other countries and handles thousands of transactions a day.

MTN intends to roll it out across all their other African networks next year. (They are the second largest operator on the continent).

See this story at

Scott Shaffer said...

Good Stuff

Definitely bloggable.


Jason said...

Do you think people are ready for MobileLime's payment system in America?