By Max Clarke

Just as attempts by Google to turn smartphones into wallets have landed the search giant with a lawsuit, the UK based Payments Council have today launched a project that also focuses on mobile phone payments.

Within as little as 2 years, say the Council, users will be able to send money or make payments simply using a text message or dedicated app.

“Mobile phones are no longer only used as a way to contact people; their functionality has increased dramatically over recent years and the mobile phone is now something which many of us cannot do without,” said Payments Council chief, Gary Hocking, Payments Council Acting Chief Executive.

“The introduction of mobile payments will offer more choice to customers, simplifying how we can make a financial transaction and increasing flexibility in our everyday lives. And who knows — we may see the wallet dropping off its top spot in the not too distant future!"

The Payments Council has kicked off this project as part of its commitment to lead innovation in payments. The first step will be to scope out what the core service might look like for customers so potential suppliers and project costs can be identified. The aim is to make sure that this offers an attractive new service to personal customers in the UK. The Payments Council will give the final green light after considering the business case later this year. And while it is still early days, initial research suggests that almost a quarter (23%) of consumers are likely to want to use a new mobile payments service.

This latest development will be a further addition to the way we use our mobile phones nowadays. Long gone are the days when we simply used mobiles to ‘just’ make a phone call. Over half of us use our mobile to take photographs, while for 7% of the population, the devices remain their sole means of accessing the internet.