Verizon Wireless said Wednesday that it has struck a deal with payment company Obopay to allow its wireless subscribers to use their cell phones to send money to each other.
The Obopay application lets users transfer money from an Obopay account to anyone with a cell phone number on any wireless network. The only catch is that those receiving the transfer also have to be registered with Obopay.
The application will be available on Verizon's Get It Now service, which means it will only work with devices that can access the Get It Now catalog.
Using cell phones to pay for things is not a new concept. eBay's PayPal already has a mobile version of its payment system. But the services have been slow to catch on, mostly because they have not been compatible with all phones and carriers.
But many people in the industry think that will soon change as services get integrated into handsets. Earlier this year, Nokia and AT&T tested a payment system that allowed people to wave their phones in front of payment terminals to buy a subway ride or french fries at McDonald's. AT&T also said earlier this year that it will offer mobile banking services to let subscribers manage their bank accounts and pay bills right from their cell phones.
"We used to say that the three things you need when you leave your house are your cell phone, your car keys, and your wallet," Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in a speech at an industry trade show Wednesday. "With the next wave of innovation in converged services, the day isn't far off when all you'll need to take is your cell phone."