Wow. I just picked up the news about PayPal mobile from Russell Beattie and MobileCrunch. Now you can use SMS to make any kind of payment to anyone who has a phone. You simply text 729725 with "SEND x to yyyyyyyyyy" where x is the amount, and yyyyyyyyyy is the recipients phone number. A couple of seconds later your mobile rings, you enter your pin number, and press 1 to authorize the transaction, and you’re done. Easy-peasy!
They’ve implemented a whole bunch of additional features too. For instance you can write:
"Send 5 to firstname.lastname@example.org" to send me $5 at my email address.
"Send 25 to 6138665759 note thx for the dinner" to send me $25 and say thanks for dinner.
"Send USD100 to 6138665759" to send me a hundred US dollars.
"Send 10.99 to 6138665759 share address" to send me $10.99 and your business card.
The Text-To-Buy service is also pretty cool. Anytime you see a Text-To-Buy code in an ad, you send the number in the ad a text message, they call back, and then ship you the goods. Direct response advertising just got a whole lot more powerful.
To get started, I activated my phone. It’s easy from the PayPal mobile tab in your PayPal account. Just enter in your phone number and PIN, and then wait for them to call you back to confirm. Then, I sent $1 to my partner Howard to see how that worked. Dead simple and very COOL. Aside: I wonder if he’ll send my dollar back?
My fantasy scenario? Mid-call payments. Say, for instance, I am chatting with 1-800-FLOWERS about the fact that I forgot my mothers birthday. After ordering a beautiful bouquet, the florist might say "How would you like to pay for that", and I say "I’ll paypal it". Then I press *P, confirm the amount and enter my PIN. At that point the money is transferred.