The companies said that unlike other mobile payment services, which direct customers to a website or interactive voice response system, the pilot scheme will allow clients to initiate payment using text messaging and debit or credit card information entered online.
Clients will sign up for the Western Union Bill Alert Test Message service online or by phone, logging a CPS account number, their mobile phone number and debit account information.
Once they are enrolled, customers will receive monthly payment alerts via VeriSign detailing the amount due. When they send an approval text, a Western Union Speedpay transaction is initiated.
Western Union Payment Services senior vice-president David Shapiro said: "The on-the-go consumer is looking for convenient ways to manage the business of living so it seems only natural to marry the necessity of paying bills to the convenience of texting via cell phone."
According to the Wireless Association, 110.4 billion text messages were sent in the US in December 2008