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  PDF of Text cheque™ PR - consumers

Fast fact:
'90% of people would be willing to pay extra for the convenience of making m-commerce purchases.' - MORI research poll

Never come home to a pile of bills again

New SMS bill payment service opens door to faster cash collection

LONDON & PARIS – 23 September 2004 – Today, a new service called Text cheque™ has been launched which is set to transform the way that we pay our bills forever. The service, which is based on the SMS text messaging, allows customers to pay their bills via their mobile phones without ever writing a cheque and sealing an envelope or authorising a direct debit again.

Text cheque™ has been designed to be truly simple for users. Customers receive their bills as normal – whether for utilities, telecoms, store or credit cards – with the balance to be paid or minimum payment where appropriate. The customer then receives a text message before the due date indicating how much is owed and simply replies by text with a short password to confirm the payment, specifying the amount when necessary. Once the Text cheque™ has been sent, the merchant collects the cash from a registered payment source the customer has specified (a bank account or credit/debit card).

'Most consumers are now very comfortable using their mobile phones to send messages, vote for their favourites in TV polls and order low-value digital content. Text cheque™ goes a step beyond these types of text applications which are aimed at the youth market. It offers a practical way for grown ups to use their mobiles to make their lives easier,' said Ashley Ward, CEO of Upaid, the company that developed the service. 'Although direct debit is an easy and straightforward way to pay, millions of people don't use it because they lose control over their money. This is why Text cheque™ is such an exciting service. It provides merchants – whether they are retailers or utilities – a much easier way of collecting bill payments, while consumers retain complete control over when and how much they pay. This is technology designed to make our lives easier – not complicate them,' Ward continued.

Text cheque™ is one of the many mobile payment applications operated from Upaid’s HiPAAS™ (Highly intelligent Payment Authentication & Authorisation Service) platform. Upaid has developed the service with IBM which is now working with retailers and utility companies all over Europe to make Text cheque™ available to anyone with a bank account or credit/debit card and a mobile phone. Any organisation that provides consumer credit or sends bills regularly to consumers can use it.

'The really clever thing about text above all other mobile phone services is that it doesn’t care if you are abroad. Messages are automatically routed back to the home network for distribution so you can use a local short code anywhere in the world. With Text cheque™, consumers never need come home to a pile of bills to pay or risk getting into hot water for paying late,' said Ward.

For further information, please contact :

Sam Routley or Nicola Sansom
MS&L;/ for Upaid
Tel.: +44 (0)20 7878 3151 / 3137
Sam Routley / Nicola Sansom

Mary Carol Harris
VP, Marketing – Upaid
Tel: +33 6 22 06 12 65

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