We've seen the launch of a few innovative payment systems in our time, from simple swipe card transactions to contactless payments and online money transfer services like those criminals at Paypal, but here's a new one on us...
Taking things to a place they really should have already gone is Mobile Sense, an innovative UK company which has thought up 'Beem' - a money payment system sent using the humble SMS.
It's a service which couldn't be simpler either since it works with any mobile phone and all a user needs to do is text 'hello' to the company's non premium number to set up a Beem account. Confirm password and debit card details via a return text and you're done. From here the whole service is free with the only charge being when customers transfer money to a bank while the cost of texts themselves are part of your own network price plan.
"Beem is a revolutionary new mobile money solution which will most certainly redefine mobile payments," exclaimed Beem CEO and founder Kerl Haslam. "Until now mobile money has never really taken off but Beem is set to change that… completely independent of mobile networks, handsets and banks, users can pay back a friend or get prepay top ups on any network. Users can even pay for a pint, pizza, cab or club membership via Beem and through our merchants… If you now forget your cash card or money, there is no need to go via an ATM to get cash, with Beem you can load cash into your account through a simple and secure text message and have access to cash within seconds."
Of course the obvious caveat in here is Beem 'merchants' and as with any new payment service don't expect blanket coverage from day one. That said, some notable companies have signed up including Tops Pizza and London Heathrow Express Cars while a number of universities and students' unions are in on it too - where I suspect Beem could prove rather popular.
Up and running now, Beem is certainly an interesting addition to our existing payment services. Beem me cash for a pint anyone...?