The Future Of Mobile Payments: Text A Word And Pay For Something

Imagine a world where by simply texting a word like “Sandwich” will result in a quick and seamless transaction so you could  go about your day.  Think about how much easier our lives would be if we didn’t have to wait in line, handle cash or be turned away from food or beverage if we don’t have our wallets in hand.

What if texting wasn’t just meant for communication, but also designed for transaction?

Today, most people take more precautions about carrying their mobile devices than carrying their wallets or purses.

The new question is: if your house is on fire what do you grab, your wallet or your phone?

I bet the answer is an overwhelming “phone”, since we do almost everything with our mobile devices and very soon we won’t be needing a wallet.

Our vision at Seconds is to make it easier for merchants and customers to interact and transact.  This is no more apparent than when looking at our latest innovations on the mobile payment front: Pay by Text.

Here’s how it works.

Once a mobile user sets up a Seconds account and attaches a payment card, they now can simply pay for the desired product with a one word text to the merchant’s Seconds number, in this case it would be the word “Sandwich”.  The resulting text a few seconds later will inform the user they indeed have been successfully charged X amount.  Done.

Important Note: This is not carrier billing, where you place the transaction onto your cell phone bill.  Seconds is completely separate from the carrier and a stand alone mobile payment system.

We are currently one month into a pilot program with a customer testing the functionality and perfecting the process.   Each week we are seeing more and more mobile transactions through Pay by Text, and if things keep going the way they are now this could become the default payment method outside simple food offerings.

Roll with me for a moment.  Imagine going to a movie and rather than waiting in line for the teller to give you a ticket you just simply text “Mission Impossible 4” to the box office and the next thing you know you have paid for the movie and are sent the secret code to enter via text.

Or how about the next time to your favorite band is in town…. do we really have to deal with the whole Ticketmaster ordeal?  Why can’t I send a text to the concert organizer with a simple “Said Band Name” and pay for the price of admission.

Okay, here’s a great one…. how about anything to do with hospitality?  Already, when you check in to a hotel they ask for your contact information, namely a cell phone number.  By running on the Seconds platform the can now open a quick and easy channel for you to text and pay for room service, any and all products… not to mention your room.  Or what about on a Vegas Casino floor….

So, what about NFC?

The problem with NFC technology is you actually have to be in physical proximity for the transaction to work.  The whole point of “Near Field Communication” is touching or swiping your device on a reader which will result in a transaction.  But what happens if I want to pay for something when I am not actually at the specific location or can’t get within a few inches of the reader?  What if it’s ecommerce, which will become more prevalent as time goes on?  Although it might have its place, it looks as if NFC  underwhelms and under-delivers.

That is why we are very excited about our Pay by Text technology, we see a whole new world of payments when you disassociate proximity from transaction.  It’s going well right now and the future is looking very bright for Seconds.



Add yours →

  1. 15-20 years away MINIMUM. This forces people to massively change their habits and it won’t happen with the current generation of “spenders” (30+ market).

    Perhaps when the new generation grows up with these things they’ll be more inclined to use it. But for now, keep dreaming my friend.


    • Mark, unfortunately that is a century in internet years. Indeed more will happen in the next 5-10 years than you can imagine. Read this one for a bit of context based on the latest news on Facebook.

      “The reason this risk factor jumps out of the page – for me – is that this trend to growing mobile use is inevitable. What is more, it will be both rapid and enormous. How do we know this? Well, human beings are flocking to mobile platforms in droves. This is happening to such an extent that Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker went on the record almost 1 year ago to say that we are now in the 5th major technology cycle of the past half century (mainframe; mini-computer; desktop; internet and now mobile) and that mobile traffic will “grow 26 times over the next 5 years”

      …the times are a changin’.


      • Platforms where people chat is one thing…HOW people pay for things is another.

        You cannot compare the transactions and transfer of REAL MONEY to people chatting on Facebook or the increase in Mobile use.

        Just take 100 ‘random’ people off the streets of any major city in the USA and ask them. Simply ASK them what they think.

        Us internet entrepreneurs get so locked into this tiny circle of tech and we fail to realize that 95% of the people out there are NOT like us.

        That being said, I love the idea and OF COURSE it’s easier, safer and better. I just question it being mainstream for our generation. 😉


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