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Texting PayPal Payments

PayPal customers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada will soon be able to make payments and transfer funds over the phone and through SMS text messaging, PayPal spokesperson Amanda Pires told internetnews.com.

Some analysts say consumers aren't ready to pay for goods and services using the new technology, but others insist that such thinking isn't big enough.

To use PayPal Mobile, customers can send a text to "PayPal" (729725) from their phones and enter the dollar amount they want to send to a particular vendor, charity or user ID number. PayPal will then contact the mobile user to confirm and complete the transaction.

David Chamberlain, principle wireless analyst with In-Stat research is taking a wait-and-see approach. He told internetnews.com he's not sure exactly what people are willing to pay for using such a thing.

He grants that PayPal is somewhat popular and that SMS is hugely popular, but his initial support ends there.

"I just don't know that we've got a huge market for it," he said.

Pires said she didn't know where he is getting that from.

"Imagine the ability to split a lunch bill. I could just text you 20 dollars. Our customers told us this is something they want," she said.

She also has anecdotal evidence to suggest the service's increasing popularity.

"We've all been playing with it here," she said, "Everyone's sending everyone else a dollar to try it out. It's addictive."

JupiterResearch analyst Edward Kountz sees the benefit of PayPal Mobile from a global standpoint.

He told internetnews.com that the service will enable PayPal "to reach new customers both in the U.S. and abroad," adding that, overseas, Internet access is often more common through mobile devices than desktop PCs.

Pires agreed that a global outlook contributed to PayPal's strategy. "In Europe and especially the U.K., texting is extremely popular. It's a part of their lives."

"I think," Kountz said, "this is an important announcement. Technology is finally catching up with the vision."