Friday, June 23, 2006

Cool Cellphone Tricks

By Kelli B. Grant Published: June 21, 2006

THESE DAYS, LEAVING home without your cellphone could be as foolish as leaving without your wallet.

Two weeks ago, we reviewed ScanBuy Shopper, new software that lets you use your cellphone as a price comparison tool. Since then we've spotted two different types of services available that make your mobile even more indispensable:
Instant PaymentThe next time you head out to dinner with a group of friends, splitting the check can be easier than piling up big bills and then calculating change. Just text message one person in the group your money. "Turning your cellphone into a payment device is as easy as sending somebody a text message," says Ed Kountz, a senior analyst for financial services at Jupiter Research.
The three services currently available — Obopay, PayPal Mobile and — all let you send and receive money via text messages. You can send cash to anyone with a mobile phone number. With each, you'll need to sign up for an account online, linking a bank account or credit card. (Worried about security? You'll create a four-digit PIN to enter every time you request a transaction.) You may pay a small fee for the service, as well as a fee to your service provider for sending or receiving data.
· creates an account that you can fund using a linked bank account or credit card, or by mailing a check. You'll pay 10 cents to send money via phone, and nothing to receive it. The software works with all service providers and phones.
· PayPal Mobile works with your existing PayPal account to send and receive money. You can use your PayPal balance, or send cash from your bank account or a credit card. Text messaging features can only be used with select carriers, but anyone can call 1-800-4PAYPAL to place a request. You can also send money to someone's email address. All transactions are free.
· creates a separate account that you fund using a linked bank account or credit card. Right now, sending and receiving money is free, though fees may later be imposed. For 50 cents, you can opt to receive the money in the form of a mailed check, rather than claiming it online. The service works with all service providers and phones.
Coupon ClippingForget cutting coupons out of your Sunday paper. Savvy consumers can now download discounts to their cellphones. The process is easy — visit the coupon web site and select which coupons you want sent to your phone via text message. (You won't get spammed with unwanted ones.) Then, when you're at the retailer, bring up the coupon on your phone. It has a code that can be scanned or typed in at the store just like any paper coupon. The service is free, though you'll pay your service provider to receive the coupon text message or access the coupons via the Internet. Both of the services out there are relatively new, so you may find the pickings slim for your area.
· CellFire is software for your cellphone that stores coupons from major retailers. You can use it in stores and, in some cases, over the phone — say, while ordering a pizza. Right now, the software works only on select phone models using Cingular. Current deals include one free movie or game rental at Hollywood Video (California), $5 off a $15 purchase at T.G.I. Friday's (select locations in Arizona, Kansas and other states) and 15% off orders at (nationwide).

· Quickpons offers downloadable coupons nationwide from both big-name chains and individual local businesses. The site works with most service providers and phone models. Current deals include a free donut at Dunkin' Donuts (Orlando, Fla.), a 99-cent spicy chicken taco at Taco Bell (Youngstown, Ohio) and 30% off any dry-cleaning order at Woodlake Professional Dry Cleaning and Laundry (Tampa, Fla.).


Post a Comment

<< Home