Our friends in Africa have been making payments via text for a while, thanks to systems such as (Ladysmith Black) M-Pesa.
The UK is set to take a page out of their book, welcoming payments via text in the spring of 2014 – or thereabouts.
The text payment scheme has eight big-name backers, namely Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Metro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Santander.
Administering the scheme are Faster Payments (which processed more than 800 million transactions last year) and the Link network (which handled 3.1 billion ATM withdrawals in 2012).
What’ll happen is, see, your bank will contact you to ask if you want to be added to an opt-in database. There’s no need for a separate account or anything, and indeed sort codes and account numbers are effectively redundant; all you need is the other person's mobile number. Hmm.
The Payments Council promises some sort of security measure, perhaps a passcode or similar, though it hasn’t been finalised just yet. Nor has the maximum payment amount. That’s, er, reassuring.
We’re sure the text payment scheme will be of particular interest to our Jan, who doesn’t have a bank account. Or a fridge.