Mobile payments over text message to launch in early 2014

The Payments Council has announced that mobile users in the UK will be able to send payments over text message in early 2014, as the mobile payments space heats up. 

The process will begin with banks asking clients to agree to be opted into the programme, the BBC reports.

Text message transactions will make paying easier, with an account number not having to be given in order to transfer money, but just a more manageable phone number.  

While it may sound like a new technology, text message payments are already offered by M-Pesa in many African countries, allowing people to transfer funds quickly.

Payments in the UK will be managed by the Faster Payments service, which processed 800 million banking transactions last year. 

Sending money via a text is an interesting concept and should prove particularly useful to customers who don't have smartphones on which to load an app such as Paypal. Or simply  those who want to do it quicker without managing account numbers. 

There have been several innovations in the mobile payments space in recent years. Square - founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey -  for example, which was recently adopted by Starbucks to handle some payments at several stores. 

Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Metro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander will be the first to adopt the latest programme.