Plans for a new payment system allowing people to use their mobile phone as a "digital wallet" were outlined today.

Those who sign up for an account with US-based payments company Boku will receive a sticker for the back of their phone that allows them to pay for goods at participating shops by swiping the handset on a reader.

Reports state that you need to set up and pre-load a Boku account, which is linked to your mobile phone account, though Boku was unavailable to confirm this.

The system will also allow users to send and receive money between mobile phones. It is not linked to your bank account, according to reports.

Users can also download a smartphone app, compatible with iPhones and Android devices, that tracks spending and allows transfers of money to other Boku account holders.

Boku says it has set up a trial of the service with an un-named "major mobile carrier" in the UK and hopes to announce a roll-out later this year.

Mobile payments

Interest in the mobile payments sector is set to grow this year.

Last week, Barclays launched its Pingit app, which will enable adults across the UK to transfer cash to and from current accounts as easily as texting from next month, regardless of who they bank with (see the Barclays Pingit MSE news story).

Meanwhile, the Payments Council, which oversees payments in the UK, is building a database to help banks and building societies offer a service to customers who sign up enabling them to transfer cash using mobile phone numbers.

This database will be in place before the end of the year.

Rachel Springall, spokeswoman for comparison website Moneyfacts, says: "Customers may already be familiar with the contactless payment technology that was launched in the last four years and has also been integrated into some smart phones for low purchase transactions."

She says the introduction of Boku accounts will enable customers to buy goods and services and not just transfer funds from one account to another.