Pay By Cell Phone

On CTV’s Canada AM this morning there was a report that Calgrary Transit would soon be launching a service where bus and LRT (light rail transit) users will soon be able to pay for their ride by sending a text message from their cell phone. A user would buy credits (presumably online) and each ride or txt message would debit the account.

The CT person interviewed thought this service was the first of its kind in North America, although a few other transit companies in countries in Europe and Asia were also using this technology. How long until we’re paying for movie tickets, parking meters (already happening), and other services with just a few thumb strokes?

What university is going to be the first to do this with photocopying, printing or vending machines? It’s interesting to think about where this all leads — a person’s phone one day becoming as important as your wallet and bank card. And inextricably linked to your person.

On the road to convergence (PDA, cell phone, mp3 player, camera), I think we can soon add in wallet/mobile commerce device. It’s only one thing to worry about losing, but be damned if it ever does go astray…

I can’t find any further information about the Calgary pay-by-cell project (or at least, I can’t easily Google it) but I did stumble across another cell-related story, this one about the return of the etch-a-sketch on UK cell phones. Now how cool is that…

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