Ever gotten that desperate call from your child at college asking for money? One company offers a way to wire money straight to your child, right from your smartphone.
Obopay is another company offering mobile payments, but with a twist. The company lets you transfer money just by knowing someone else's phone number, using the Obopay smart phone app, SMS messages, or Obopay's mobile website. Sending money costs as little as 25 cents per transaction
If you're sending the money to somone in your family, you can use Obopay's Family Account service, which provides a MasterCard debit card that can be recharged from Obopay's service. If your teenager or college student needs money in a hurry, you can add money to the balance of their debit card from your phone app instead of handing them cash, and they can either use the card to make purchases or withdraw money from an ATM instantly.
Obopay is now offering this service to banks, so you may soon be able to get direct access to your bank account from your phone rather than having to move money first to an Obopay account. The service, called Mobile Money for Banks, also allows anyone—including you—to accept debit card or wire (ACH, or "automated clearing house") money transfers directly to your bank account.
With that kind of flexibility, though, comes a new risk. Make sure you're paying the right person, because Obopay payments can't be taken back.