Pre-pay mobile phone customers will soon be able to top up their accounts using the PayPoint bill payment terminals in convenience stores.
PayPoint has signed a deal with mobile operator One 2 One enabling customers to boost their accounts through the terminals, which are in operation in 7,400 shops across the UK.
The company also claims to be on the verge of signing deals with Vodafone AirTouch, BT Cellnet and Orange.
At the moment the PayPoint terminals can process utility bill payments made to the retailer in cash or by cheque.
This new initiative will extend the service so that mobile phone customers can load up a smart account card contained in the handset. They will do this by swiping it through the PayPoint terminal and paying the retailer.
At present topping up a pre-pay phone involves buying a voucher from a store, then ringing the phone company to transfer the credit to the handset.
PayPoint marketing manager Jonathan Baggart says: “The shopkeepers benefit because they will no longer need to tie up money in a broad range of cards from different networks, in different denominations.
“The mobile phone companies save on the distribution costs of the existing voucher system, while the customer will be able to top up the account in one go.”
Banks through the Link network are also considering offering a service whereby users of pre-pay phones can credit their accounts.