Mobile phones to be digital wallets

Mobile phones are going to become more like digital wallets, allowing consumers to send and receive money and even make some purchases like coffee and lunch.

MONTREAL — Mobile phones are going to become more like digital wallets, allowing consumers to send and receive money and even make some purchases like coffee and lunch.

The goal is to integrate consumers’ wallets into their phones, said Aran Hamilton of Toronto-based Enstream which recently launched a mobile payment service called Zoompass for consumer testing and feedback.

Zoompass works on about 45 mobile phone models, including some lower-end phones.

“We’re not just focusing on the people who have the smartphones,” Hamilton said Thursday.

Enstream is a joint venture owned by the three major Canadian wireless carriers, Bell Mobility (TSX:BCE), Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) and Telus Corp. (TSX:T).

With the widespread use of cellphones, the ability to use it for payments and money transfers is seen as yet another function that helps make the device seem almost indispensable for consumers.

Down the road, people will be able to use Zoompass to pay for public transportation, Hamilton said, adding they can use it now to buy some brands of coffee.

“The whole thing will be done on your mobile as opposed to having to pull out cash or change.”

With the Zoompass software, consumers can link their personal bank account or credit card to load and transfer money.

It costs 50 cents to send money from a Zoompass account, but there’s a 3.5 per cent fee to send money from a credit card. It’s free to receive money from someone.

Even though consumers don’t have to contact their banks if they’re using Zoompass, it’s not yet clear if there will be banking fees associated with its use.

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