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Xipwire targets tech-savvy college students for mobile payments

January 8, 2010

Payments go mobile

Payments go mobile

Xipwire, a mobile payment service, has launched with a focus on college-aged consumers and the underbanked in Philadelphia.

The service is available New Jersey, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Montana, but the company has focused on Philadelphia because of its network of colleges. Xipwire lets consumers send and receive money using SMS.

“People are addicted to their phones,” said Sybil Lindsay, vice president of sales and marketing at Xipwire, Philadelphia. “This is the natural evolution mobile devices.

“When people leave their houses in the morning they take their phones and wallets,” she said. “And most people forget their wallet, but when they forget their phones they panic.

“When people are without their phones they don’t feel connected, they feel out of sorts. We wanted to make it do double duty and we see that’s what people want to do.”

Xipwire is a mobile payment service that lets consumers securely send and receive money using text messages.

Getting into the game
The Philadelphia Sports Network, an organization of adult sports leagues, has partnered with Xipwire to promote the mobile payment services.

Captains of teams in the network are encouraged to sign up for Xipwire when they officially register their teams.

Xipwire said it has seen 10-12 consumers sign up for every captain that initially does so.

To sign up for Xipwire, consumers must go to the Web site at Once there, they must link a bank, credit or debit card account to move funds in and out of their digital wallet.

Xipwire users can send a text message to the short code 56624 to send money to other consumers, ping another user for a payment or check their wallet balance.

Consumers can send money to others even if they do not have a Xipwire account, all they need is a mobile number. However, for the recipient to receive the funds, they must make a Xipwire account.

The company is targeting 18-35-year-olds, particularly college-aged consumers who are already familiar with using other items such as their student ID card to pay for goods and services.

Xipwire said Philadelphia-based merchants are already familiar with other means of payments because of the use of ID cards and have been receptive to accepting mobile payments.

Safety first
Every transaction that transfers money in or out of a consumer’s mobile wallet requires a PIN.

Consumers that initiate the transaction from their handset or from the Web will receive a text message asking for identify confirmation by responding with the four-digit PIN.

To ensure that the PIN is kept secret, after replying with the number, Xipwire requires consumers to delete the text from the send history immediately after the message is sent.

All PIN requests also include an option to reply with an N to cancel the request.

No personal and account information is stored on the consumer’s mobile device.

All text messages are simply alerts that notify consumers that some event has occurred on the Xipwire platform.

Consumers can also use an anonymous code to pay for goods if they do not want to use their mobile number or Xipwire ID. The code is sent from Xipwire to the consumer via SMS and lasts for 15 minutes and is only usable for one transaction.

Sharif Alexandre, founder/CEO of Xipwire, said 2010 is about educating the public about mobile payments.

“I think 2010 will be the year America wakes up to mobile payments with significant adoption happening soon after that,” Mr. Alexandre said.

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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