Car payments can be initiated using text messaging from a mobile phone under a pilot project announced Thursday by Western Union Co. and Consumer Portfolio Services Inc.

Once a customer sets up the service, an alert is sent to the user’s phone that a car payment is due. The user types a “yes” response as a text message to authorize transfer of the payment from a credit or debit card, the companies said. A confirmation text message is sent seconds later to the user.

A division of security vendor VeriSign Inc. worked with Western Union and CPS to set up the test program, which is expected to last about three months, said Ren



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