Update: The Obopay website is now live, although you cannot register and use the service until April.
Palo Alto based Obopay is set to launch sometime Thursday (the site is currently password protected). This is the newest product in the very active mobile payments space (see PayPal Mobile and TextPayMe as well).
A few more details about Obopay have come out since Matt Marshall posted a teaser two weeks ago. Obopay will rely on a java client on the phone instead of sms or text message payments like PayPal Mobile and TextPayMe. While this provides for a richer and more secure interface, Obopay will be of use only to people who have phones that support java:
The first 25 phones that we are porting to cut across 2 of the major carriers (i.e. Cingular and T-Mobile) and one major MVNO that we are in trials with. Five different handset manufacturers are represented in this group (i.e. Nokia, Motorola, Kyocera, Samsung and Sony Ericsson) including the three largest manufacturers. In our porting effort we are targeting all of the handsets that are currently offered by the big 4 carriers that are targeted at our end-user group.
The service itself will allow for person to person payments between phones. Obopay says that “users can send money to almost any mobile handset”, which may imply a text message (or email?) for unsupported phones – I just don’t know how that will work yet. Users will also be issued a debit card attached to the account for real world payments, including ATM withdrawls.
As to fees, the information I have now is “The transaction costs just pennies”. I’ll update as I receive more information.