Developing

Smartphones Could Become UK's New Credit Cards

Most Britons will be able to pay for items using their mobile phone next year.

Banks and financial institutions representing 90% of current accounts have agreed to launch the UK's first industry-wide mobile payment service in spring 2014.

Using a process similar to texting, people will be able to sign up to send and receive payments using their own number.

It will be done without the need to disclose their bank account details.

The  Payments Council , the industry body that is leading the project, said using mobiles to buy goods and services, as well as send money to friends and family, would become a mainstream option due to the popularity of the plan among banks.

Eight financial institutions have already committed themselves to offering the service, and discussions are under way for others to join.

The council pointed out that while there are existing ways to pay using a mobile, the project is the first to have the potential to link every bank account in the country with a mobile number.

Chief executive Adrian Kamellard said: "This new service will offer a simple, secure way to split a bill for dinner, receive money from a friend or pay a tradesman without needing to remember or share account details."

Before the service launches, the financial institutions involved will invite customers to register via their online banking service, mobile app or other approved method.

The Payments Council said more details about the industry-wide registration process and the precise launch date would be announced later.

More than 5,000 consumers took part in Payments Council research, which revealed the service is likely to prove most popular with smartphone users, who accounted for 67% of those surveyed.

One in three smartphone users said they were either "definitely" or "extremely likely" to sign up to the new service when it launches.