Verizon goes “cha-ching” with new mobile payment service

We here in the US are WAAY behind the curve when it comes to things we can do with a cell phone.  Yes, with the invention of the iPhone and Android phones, we can do more with all of the applications developers make available to us.  This is all well and good, but what about those folks with “normal” cell phones?  They call call, text, take a photo, and sometimes surf the web.  Meanwhile, in other countries, you can do anything, including buy goods and services direct from the phone using either bar codes or text messages.  Nothing that requires an “app” per se.

Well, Verizon is changing things around by launching a new mobile payment service.  According to a post on Slashdot, with input from GigaOm:

The service, based on technology created by Danal, will require text messaging-enabled phones, and that purchases be made from Verizon-approved online stores, which include game sites and social networks. It will require that customers click a BilltoMobile button during checkout from a participating online Web site. Users will be asked to input their mobile numbers and mobile billing zip codes for authentication. Once the user is authenticated, a one-time passcode will sent to his or her phone. The number is then input into the online checkout window. At that point, the transaction is complete and the charge will appear on the customer’s monthly phone bill. GigaOm writes, ‘If Verizon can get people accustomed to putting in their phone numbers instead of credit cards while shopping online, then it could own a critical element in building an application and services platform that spans the wired and wireless world … Much like Apple has such a large stake in the mobile application and commerce space today because it has millions of credit cards in iTunes, Verizon could be expanding its own payments information for a similar goal.'”

This will certainly bring the idea of using your phone to pay for things back into focus here in the US.  This idea has been bounced around on and off for years, but has never really caught on.  Maybe with Verizon backing it this time, it may take off.  Would it be so bad to not have to take your wallet with you to pay for things, only use your phone?