WO2008102329A2 - A method and a system for processing an sms message or for carrying out a process in response to an sms message from an sms enabled device - Google Patents

A method and a system for processing an sms message or for carrying out a process in response to an sms message from an sms enabled device

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Publication number
WO2008102329A2
WO2008102329A2 PCT/IE2008/000015 IE2008000015W WO2008102329A2 WO 2008102329 A2 WO2008102329 A2 WO 2008102329A2 IE 2008000015 W IE2008000015 W IE 2008000015W WO 2008102329 A2 WO2008102329 A2 WO 2008102329A2
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
sms
device
message
originating
processing
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IE2008/000015
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2008102329A3 (en )
Inventor
Thomas Jonathan Power
Original Assignee
Tr2 Holdings Limited
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/08Payment architectures
    • G06Q20/10Payment architectures specially adapted for electronic funds transfer [EFT] systems; specially adapted for home banking systems
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/30Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices
    • G06Q20/32Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices using wireless devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/30Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices
    • G06Q20/32Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices using wireless devices
    • G06Q20/322Aspects of commerce using mobile devices [M-devices]
    • G06Q20/3223Realising banking transactions through M-devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/30Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices
    • G06Q20/32Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices using wireless devices
    • G06Q20/325Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices using wireless devices using wireless networks
    • G06Q20/3255Payment architectures, schemes or protocols characterised by the use of specific devices using wireless devices using wireless networks using an SMS for payment
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/08Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network
    • H04L63/0853Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for supporting authentication of entities communicating through a packet data network using an additional device, e.g. smartcard, SIM or a different communication terminal
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W12/00Security arrangements, e.g. access security or fraud detection; Authentication, e.g. verifying user identity or authorisation; Protecting privacy or anonymity
    • H04W12/06Authentication

Abstract

A system (1) for facilitating the transfer of funds from an SMS originating device (3) (9) to an SMS receiving device (5) supported by telecommunications networks (10), comprises a detecting circuit (12) in each network (9,10) for detecting an SMS message commencing with a predefined identifying element, namely, a '#' symbol which indicates that the SMS message is to be subjected to processing prior to being delivered to the SMS receiving device (5). It identifies the SMS originating device (3) and the SMS receiving device (5) by both their telephone number. And (14) obtains particulars of the bank accounts associated with the SMS originating (3) and with receiving devices (5) and transfers by electronic banking the amount of funds which is identified in the SMS message as being the amount to be transferred to the bank account of the receiving device (5). By the processing circuit (14) which then transmits an SMS message to both the SMS originating and the SMS receiving device (5) confirming successful transfer of the funds. Topping up the telephone account of an SMS receiving device (5) from an SMS originating device (3), carrying out translation of an SMS message spell checking or determining the location of the SMS originating device (3), are possible.

Description

"A method and a system for processing an SMS message or for carrying out a process in response to an SMS message from an SMS enabled device"

The present invention relates to a method and a system for processing an SMS message and/or for carrying out a process in response to an SMS message from an SMS enabled device. The invention also relates to a method and a system for processing an SMS message and/or for carrying out a process in response to an SMS message from one SMS enabled device to another SMS enabled device.

For ease of understanding, throughout this specification and claims the SMS enabled device which sends the SMS message will be referred to as an SMS originating device, and the SMS enabled device to which the SMS message is addressed will be referred to as an SMS receiving device, however, it will be readily understood that the SMS originating device as well as having a send facility, will also have a receiving facility for an SMS message, and similarly, the receiving device as well as having a receiving facility, will also have a sending facility for sending an SMS message.

In particular, the invention relates to a method and a system for processing the SMS message being transmitted by the SMS originating device to the SMS receiving device and transmitting the processed SMS message to the SMS receiving device, although the invention is not so limited. The invention also relates to a method and a system for facilitating funds transfer from a bank account associated with an SMS originating device to a bank account associated with an SMS receiving device in response to an SMS message from the SMS originating device to the SMS receiving device, although again, the invention is not so limited.

The invention also relates to a method and a system for carrying out a process in connection with an SMS message from an SMS enabled device, which may be a process carried out on the SMS message or a process carried out in response to the SMS message.

Additionally, in this specification the term "bank account" is to be understood to refer to any account with a financial institution, for example, a current account or a deposit account, as well as a credit, debit or charge card account. The term "bank account" in certain cases, as referred to in this specification, may also in certain cases include a reference to the telephone account of the SMS enabled device.

Text messaging is becoming an increasingly important form of communication and is carried out using the short messaging service (SMS). Such text messages are SMS messages. SMS messages are particularly convenient for communicating with a relatively large number of people, where one wishes, for example, to issue a single SMS message to a large group of people. For example, such SMS messages are commonly used to inform a group of people as to the date, time and venue of a meeting. However, a problem arises with SMS messages particularly, where the SMS message is to be transmitted to a relatively large group of people, where various sub-groups of people of the larger groups speak respective different languages. In such cases, it is necessary to send an appropriate number of the SMS message in different languages to the respective different sub-groups of people. This, is time-consuming and is also inconvenient, and negates many of the conveniences associated with SMS messaging. There is therefore a need for a method and system which overcomes this problem.

Additionally, where it is desired to transfer funds from the bank account of one individual to that of another individual, in general, the funds transfer must be either manually initiated or initiated by electronic banking. In manual initiation, it is necessary for the individual wishing to transfer the funds to fill up at least one form by hand in order to have the funds transferred from his or her bank account to that of another individual. Additionally, manual funds transfer tends to be relatively slow. While electronic funds transfer is considerably more convenient, it requires the person wishing to make the transfer of funds from his or her account to that of another individual to be registered for internet banking, and furthermore, requires that the person wishing to make the funds transfer has access to a suitable computer which can be operated on line to the bank in which the account of the individual wishing to make the funds transfer. This requires the relatively large expense of acquiring a computer, and thus, in many cases is not feasible, and also requires that the facilities are provided for connecting the computer online to the bank. There is therefore a need for a method and a system for facilitating funds transfer between individuals which is relatively efficient and inexpensive.

The present invention is directed towards providing a method and a system for translating an SMS message being transmitted from an SMS originating device to an SMS receiving device and transmitting the translated message to the SMS receiving device. The present invention is also directed towards providing a method and a system for facilitating transfer of funds between two individuals, which is relatively efficient and inexpensive to use. The invention is also directed towards providing a method and a system for processing an SMS message from an SMS originating device to an SMS receiving device and for transmitting the processed SMS message to the SMS receiving device. The invention also is directed towards providing a method and a system for carrying out a process in response to an SMS message from an SMS originating device to an SMS receiving device. The invention is also directed towards a method and a system for carrying out a process in connection with an SMS message from an SMS enabled device.

According to the invention there is provided a method for processing an SMS message from one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) as the SMS message is being routed from the SMS originating device to another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device), the method comprising: detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element, and transmitting an SMS message resulting from the processing thereof to the SMS receiving device.

In one embodiment of the invention the identity of both the SMS originating device and the identity of the SMS receiving device are determined from the SMS message. In one aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is one of a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements. In another aspect of the invention at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process.

Preferably, the processed SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device is a message confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out. Advantageously, the processed SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device comprises the identity of the SMS originating device. Ideally, a confirmatory SMS message is transmitted to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out. Preferably, the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device comprises the identity of the SMS receiving device.

In one aspect of the invention the predetermined process is a funds transfer process. Preferably, in response to the predefined processing instruction element the amount of the funds and the currency thereof to be transferred is determined from the SMS message.

In another embodiment of the invention the payer from which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the payee to which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message.

In a further aspect of the invention the method further comprises identifying a bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred, and in another aspect of the invention the method further includes obtaining particulars of the bank account from which the funds are to be transferred from one of a plurality of bank accounts, particulars of which are stored and cross- referenced with respective SMS originating devices.

Preferably, the method further comprises requesting a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the method comprises validating a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device. Ideally, the instruction to transfer the funds is authenticated in response to the entered PIN number being determined as being a valid PIN number.

Preferably, the method further comprises obtaining particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred. Advantageously, the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device is obtained from a list of bank accounts cross-referenced with associated SMS originating or receiving devices.

Preferably, the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device are obtained by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.

In one aspect of the invention the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices.

Preferably, the method comprises storing particulars of the bank accounts associated with the respective SMS receiving devices.

In another aspect of the invention the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices.

Preferably, the method comprises storing particulars of the bank accounts associated with the respective SMS originating devices.

In another embodiment of the invention the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred. Preferably, the currency of the funds to be transferred is determined from the SMS message. Advantageously, the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value. Ideally, the value of the funds to be transferred is determined from the SMS message.

In one aspect of the invention the method further comprises issuing an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.

In another aspect of the invention the method further comprises issuing an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto.

Preferably, the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred is issued in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. Advantageously, the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device are issued in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages. Preferably, the method further comprises translating the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction. Advantageously, the method further comprises transmitting the translated SMS message to the SMS receiving device. Ideally, the SMS message is machine translated in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device into the SMS message prior to transmitting the SMS message to the SMS receiving device. Preferably, the method further comprises determining the location of the SMS originating device and inserting particulars of the location of the SMS originating device in the SMS message. Advantageously, the method further comprises transmitting the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted in the SMS message.

In a further aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message. Preferably, the method further comprises checking the spelling of the words in the SMS message and correcting misspellings, and transmitting the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS receiving device.

In a still further aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS receiving device.

Preferably, the method further comprises issuing an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the requested top-up amount, and to credit the telephone account of the SMS receiving device with the top-up amount. Preferably, an SMS message is generated confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS receiving device, and is transmitted to the SMS originating device and to the SMS receiving device. Advantageously, the amount by which the telephone account of the SMS receiving device is to be topped up is determined from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device.

In one aspect of the invention the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message. Preferably, the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the process required to be carried out on the SMS message or in response to the SMS message. Preferably, the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element.

In another aspect of the invention the text in the SMS message to be processed is identified in the SMS message by a predefined marking means. Preferably, the marking means for identifying the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed comprises one of inverted commas, brackets and a space of one or more characters in length within which or after which the text to be processed is inserted in the SMS message.

Advantageously, the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed is located after the predefined processing instruction element.

Preferably, the predefined identifying element is the "#" symbol.

The invention also provides a method for facilitating the transfer of funds from a bank account associated with one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) to a bank account associated with another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device) in a response to an SMS message from the SMS originating device to the SMS receiving device, the method comprising: detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of a processing requirement, identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a funds transfer instruction, determining from the SMS message the value and the currency of the funds to be transferred, and initialising transfer of the funds. In one aspect of the invention the identity of both the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device are determined from the SMS message.

In another aspect of the invention an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds is generated and transmitted to the SMS receiving device. Preferably, the SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device comprises the identify of the SMS originating device.

In another aspect of the invention an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds is generated and transmitted to the SMS originating device. Preferably, the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device comprises the identity of the SMS receiving device.

In another aspect of the invention the payer from which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the payee to which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message.

In a still further embodiment of the invention the method further includes identifying the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred. Preferably, the method further comprises obtaining particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred from one of a plurality of bank accounts, particulars of which are stored and cross-referenced with respective SMS originating devices. Advantageously, the method further comprises requesting a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the method comprises validating a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device. Ideally, the instruction to transfer the funds is authenticated in response to the entered PIN being determined as being a valid PIN number.

In another aspect of the invention the method further comprises obtaining particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. Preferably, the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device is obtained from a list of bank accounts cross-referenced with associated SMS originating or receiving devices. Advantageously, the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device are obtained by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.

In another aspect of the invention the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices. Preferably, the method comprises storing particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices.

In a further aspect of the invention the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices. Preferably, the method comprises storing particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices.

In another aspect of the invention the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred. Preferably, the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value.

In a still further aspect of the invention the method further comprises issuing an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. Advantageously, the method further includes issuing an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto. Advantageously, the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device is issued in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. Ideally, the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device are issued in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.

Preferably, the currency and the value of funds to be transferred are located in the SMS message after the predefined processing instruction element.

Further the invention provides a system for processing an SMS message from one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) as the SMS message is being routed from the SMS originating device to another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device), the system comprising: a detecting means for detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, an identifying means for identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, a processing means for carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element, and a means for transmitting an SMS message resulting from the processing thereof to the SMS receiving device.

In one aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted for determining the identity of both the SMS originating device and the identity of the SMS receiving device from the SMS message.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is one of a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements. Preferably, at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message to the SMS receiving device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS originating device into the SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS receiving device into the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device.

In one aspect of the invention the predetermined process is a funds transfer process. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to determine the value of the funds and the currency thereof to be transferred from the SMS message.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to identify the payer from which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to identify the payee to which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to identify a bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred.

In one aspect of the invention a storing means is provided for storing particulars of a plurality of bank accounts cross-referenced with respective SMS originating devices with which the bank accounts are associated. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the storing means.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to request a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to validate a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to authenticate the instruction to transfer the funds in response to the entered PIN number being determined as being a valid PIN number. In a further aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred. Advantageously, the storing means stores particulars of a plurality of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices cross-referenced with the corresponding SMS receiving devices.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device from the storing means.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices and to enter the particulars of the bank accounts cross-referenced with the corresponding SMS receiving devices.

In a further aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices and to enter the particulars of the bank accounts cross-referenced with the corresponding SMS receiving devices.

Preferably, the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred. Advantageously, the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.

Preferably, the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to issue the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a language translating means to translate the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to transmit the translated SMS message to the SMS receiving device. Ideally, the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to translate the SMS message to a machine translating means in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device into the SMS message prior to transmitting the SMS message to the SMS receiving device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to determine the location of the SMS originating device in response to the predefined processing instruction element being an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device, and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device in the SMS message. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to transmit the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted in the SMS message.

In a further aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to check the spelling of the words in the SMS message and to correct misspellings in response to the predefined processing instruction being a spell check instruction, and to transmit the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS receiving device.

In a further aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS receiving device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the requested top-up amount in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a top-up instruction, and to issue an instruction to credit the telephone account of the SMS receiving device with the top- up amount. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to generate an SMS message confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS receiving device, and to transmit the SMS message to the SMS originating device and to the SMS receiving device. Ideally, the processing means is adapted to determine the amount by which the telephone account of the SMS receiving device is to be topped up from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device.

The invention also provides a system for facilitating the transfer of funds from a bank account associated with one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) to a bank account associated with another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device) in a response to an SMS message from the SMS originating device to the SMS receiving device, the system comprising: a detecting means for detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of a processing requirement, an identifying means for identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a funds transfer instruction, and a processing means for determining from the SMS message the value and the currency of the funds to be transferred, and for initialising transfer of the funds.

In one aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to determine the identity of both the SMS originating device and the identity of the SMS receiving device from the SMS message.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to generate and to transmit an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds to the SMS receiving device in response to the funds being transferred. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS originating device in the SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds to the SMS originating device in response to the funds being transferred. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS receiving device into the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to identify the payer from which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to identify the payee to which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to identify the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred.

In another aspect of the invention a storing means is provided for storing particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices cross- referenced with respective corresponding SMS originating devices. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the storing means.

Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to request a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to validate a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device. Ideally, the processing means is adapted to authenticate the instruction to transfer the funds in response to the entered PIN being determined as being a valid PIN for the identified bank account.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. Preferably, storing means stores particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices cross-referenced with corresponding SMS originating devices.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device from the storing means.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.

Preferably, the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices.

Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices. In another aspect of the invention the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred. Preferably, the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device. Ideally, the processing means is adapted to issue the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.

In one aspect of the invention the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message. Preferably, the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to look for the predefined identifying element in the location of the first character of the SMS message.

In one aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the instruction to transfer funds. Preferably, the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element, and the processing means is adapted to look for the predefined processing instruction element in the location immediately following the predefined identifying element in the SMS message. Advantageously, the currency and the value of funds to be transferred are located in the SMS message after the predefined processing instruction element, and the processing means is adapted to look for the currency and the value of the funds in the SMS message at the location after the predefined processing instruction element.

The invention also provides a method for carrying out a process in connection with an SMS message from an SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device), the method comprising: detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, and carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element.

Preferably, the identity of the SMS originating device is determined from the SMS message.

Advantageously, the predefined processing instruction element is one of a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements.

In one aspect of the invention at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process in response to the SMS message.

In another aspect of the invention a confirmatory SMS message is transmitted to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out.

In a further aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS originating device.

Preferably, the amount and the currency by which the telephone account of the SMS receiving device is to be topped up is determined from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the method further comprises identifying a bank account associated with the SMS originating device against the amount of the top-up is to be debited. Advantageously, the method further includes obtaining particulars of the bank account against which the top-up amount is to be debited from one of a plurality of bank accounts, particulars of which are stored and cross-referenced with respective SMS enabled devices.

Preferably, the method further comprises requesting a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the method comprises validating a PIN number entered by the SMS originating device.

In one aspect of the invention the method further comprises issuing an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the top-up amount, and to credit the telephone account of the SMS originating device with the top-up amount.

Preferably, an SMS message is generated confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS originating device, and is transmitted to the SMS originating device.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages. Preferably, the method further comprises translating the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction. Advantageously, the method further comprises transmitting the translated SMS message to the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the SMS message is machine translated in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction. In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device into an SMS message and to transmit the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device to the SMS originating device. Preferably, the method further comprises determining the location of the SMS originating device and inserting particulars of the location of the SMS originating device in the SMS message to be transmitted to the SMS originating device, and transmitting the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted therein to the SMS originating device.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message. Preferably, the method further comprises checking the spelling of the words in the SMS message and correcting misspellings, and transmitting the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS originating device.

Further the invention provides a system for carrying out a process in connection with an SMS message from an SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device), the system comprising: a detecting means for detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, an identifying means for identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, a processing means for carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element.

In one aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted for determining the identity of the SMS originating device from the SMS message. In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is one with a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements. Preferably, at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process in response to the SMS message. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out.

In one aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS originating device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to determine the amount and currency by which the telephone account of the SMS originating device is to be topped up from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to identify a bank account associated with the SMS originating device against which the amount of the top-up is to be debited.

In another aspect of the invention a storing means is provided for storing particulars of a plurality of bank accounts cross-referenced with respective SMS originating devices with which the bank accounts are associated. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the storing means.

In another aspect of the invention the processing means is adapted to request a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to validate a PIN number entered by the SMS originating device. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the top-up amount, and to issue an instruction to credit the telephone account of the SMS originating device with the top-up amount. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to generate an SMS message confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS originating device, and to transmit the generated SMS message to the SMS originating device.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a language translating means to translate the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to transmit the translated SMS message to the SMS originating device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to translate the SMS message to a machine translating means in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction.

In another aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to generate an SMS message with particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted therein and to transmit the generated SMS message to the SMS originating device. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to determine the location of the SMS originating device in response to the predefined processing instruction element being an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device, and to generate an SMS message with particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted therein. Advantageously, the processing means is adapted to transmit the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted therein to the SMS originating device.

In a further aspect of the invention the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message. Preferably, the processing means is adapted to check the spelling of the words in the SMS message and to correct misspellings in response to the predefined processing instruction being a spell check instruction, and to transmit the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS originating device. In another aspect of the invention the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message, and the detecting means is adapted to search for the predefined character.

Preferably, the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message, and the detecting means is adapted to look for the predefined identifying element in the location of the first character in the SMS message.

Advantageously, the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the process required to be carried out on the SMS message or in response to the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to search for the word or the abbreviated word in the SMS message. Preferably, the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element, and the processing means is adapted to look for the predefined processing instruction element at the location immediately following the predefined identifying element.

Advantageously, the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed is located after the predefined processing instruction element, and the processing means is adapted to search for the text to be processed in a location after the predefined processing instruction element.

Preferably, the predefined identifying element is the "#" symbol, and the processing means is adapted to search the SMS message for the "#" symbol.

The advantages of the invention are many. The invention provides a method and a system for facilitating the transfer of funds between two bank accounts using two SMS enabled devices, namely, an SMS originating device and an SMS receiving device. Thus, the transfer of funds is effectively done electronically without the need for a person wishing to transfer funds owning or having access to a computer having internet access, and without the need for the person wishing to transfer funds being registered for internet banking. Additionally, the method and the system according to the invention permits funds transfer from one bank account to another without either party knowing the particulars of the bank account of either party.

Additionally, the invention provides a relatively simple and inexpensive and easy to manage and understand method and system for instructing that an SMS message be either processed before delivery to the SMS receiving device, or that a process should be carried out in response to the SMS message, for example the transfer of funds prior to transmission of the SMS message to the SMS receiving device. A particularly important advantage of the invention where it is used to translate an SMS message is achieved in the case where one wishes to send an SMS message to a relatively large group of individuals in which sub-groups of the individuals speak different languages. In such a case, all that is required is for the SMS originating device to transmit the SMS message the appropriate number of times corresponding to the number of languages into which the SMS message is to be translated, and each time the SMS message is sent by the SMS originating device the predefined processing instruction element, namely the translation instruction is altered to reflect the language into which the SMS message is to be translated. The telephone numbers of the SMS receiving devices to which each translation of the SMS message is to be transmitted is appended to the appropriate SMS message.

Another advantage of the invention is that it provides a relatively simple, convenient and inexpensive method and system for topping up credit in a telephone account of a prepaid SMS enabled device, and/or for paying a bill of a bill-pay SMS enabled device. The invention also provides a relatively simple, convenient and inexpensive method and system for translating and/or spell checking an SMS message and for obtaining the location of an SMS enabled device.

The invention will be more clearly understood from the following description of some preferred embodiments thereof which are given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Fig. 1 is a block representation of a system according to the invention for processing an SMS message or for carrying out a process in response to an SMS message from an SMS originating device to an SMS receiving device, and

Fig. 2 is a flow chart of a method carried out by the system of Fig. 1 for carrying out a process in response to an SMS message from an SMS originating device to an SMS receiving device.

Referring to the drawings, there is illustrated a system according to the invention indicated generally by the reference numeral 1 for carrying out a process in response to an SMS message from an SMS enabled originating device 3 to an SMS enabled receiving device 5, and also for carrying out a process on the SMS message. In this embodiment of the invention the system 1 is suitable for facilitating the transfer of funds from a bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5. The system 1 is also capable of translating an SMS message from one language into another, and of carrying out a spell check on an SMS message, and correcting misspellings in the SMS message before transmitting the translated or corrected SMS message to the SMS receiving device 5. The system 1 is also capable of determining the location of the SMS originating device 3 and inserting the location of the SMS originating device 3 in an SMS message sent by the SMS originating device 3 to the SMS receiving device 5. Additionally, the system 1 is capable of topping up the current credit of the SMS receiving device 5 in response to an SMS message to the SMS receiving device 5 from the SMS originating device 3. The SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5 may be any suitable SMS enabled device, and for example, either or both may be mobile telephones or landline telephones. The SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5 communicate over a telecommunications network 7 which comprises a first telecommunications network 9 which supports the SMS originating device 3, and a second telecommunications network 10 which supports the SMS receiving device 5. The first and second telecommunications networks 9 and 10 may be the same or different, depending on how the SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5 are supported. For example, if the SMS originating and receiving devices 3 and 5 were supported by the same telecommunications network, then the SMS originating and receiving devices 3 and 5 would be illustrated as being supported in the first telecommunications network 9. However, to more fully describe the system 1 , the SMS originating and receiving devices 3 and 5 in this embodiment of the invention are described and illustrated as being supported by two different telecommunications networks, namely, the first and second telecommunications networks 9 and 10, respectively.

At least one of the first telecommunications networks 9 and 10, for example, the first telecommunications network 9, should comprise a detecting means, namely, a detecting circuit 12 through which all SMS messages from SMS originating devices to SMS receiving devices supported by the first telecommunications network 9 are passed irrespective of whether the SMS messages originate from an SMS originating device supported by the first telecommunications network 9 or otherwise, or are for reception by an SMS receiving device supported by the first telecommunications network 9 or otherwise, provided that the SMS message either originated from an SMS originating device supported by the first telecommunications network 9 or is for reception by an SMS receiving device supported by the first telecommunications network 9. In many cases both the first and second telecommunications networks 9 and 10 will include a detecting circuit 12, and in this case both the first and second telecommunications networks 9 and 10 are provided with detecting circuits 12. For convenience the detecting circuit 12 associated with the first telecommunications network 9 is identified by the reference numeral 12a, while the detecting circuit associated with the second telecommunications network 10 is identified by the reference numeral 12b.

The detecting circuits 12 monitor each SMS message passing through the corresponding telecommunications network 9 and 10 to ascertain if the SMS message is to be processed or if a process is to be carried out in response to the SMS message, or if the SMS message is merely to be transmitted through the corresponding telecommunications network 9 or 10. A processing means, namely, a processing circuit 14 is provided for processing the SMS messages which are to be processed or for initiating or carrying out processes which are to be carried out in response to the SMS message. On detecting an SMS message which is to be processed, or for which a process is to be carried out, the detecting circuits 12a and 12b transfer the SMS message to the processing circuit 14.

The processing circuit 14 comprises a computer 11 which is programmed to carry out or initiate the relevant processes on the SMS messages, or to carry out or to initiate the carrying out of processes in response to the SMS messages. A storing means, namely, an electronic memory 13 is provided for storing particulars of SMS enabled devices which register with the system 1 , such as particulars of bank accounts associated with the SMS enabled devices and respective secure PIN numbers which are chosen for use with the system 1 , cross-referenced with the corresponding SMS enabled devices. An interface 15 facilitates the processing circuit 14 to communicate with the internet, and to permit the processing circuit 14 to carry out funds transfer by electronic banking. An interface 16 facilitates communication between the processing circuit 14 and a machine translation service 17 for translating SMS messages from one language to another where a translation of the SMS message is required. An interface 18 facilitates communication between the processing circuit 14 and a global positioning system (GPS) of the SMS originating device 3 for determining the location of the SMS originating device 3. An interface 20 facilitates interfacing between the processing circuit 14 and a spell check system 21 for facilitating spell checking of SMS messages where spell checking is required, and for correcting misspellings in the SMS message.

The capability of the system 1 for facilitating transfer of funds from a bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to a bank account associated with an SMS receiving device 5 will first be described. However, before describing the system 1 in further detail, an SMS message to which the system 1, in this embodiment of the invention, is responsive for facilitating the transfer of funds from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 will first be described. In this embodiment of the invention the SMS message takes the following form: #cash xy

The SMS message comprises a predefined identifying element, which is the first character in the SMS message, namely, the "#" symbol which is indicative of an SMS message which either requires processing or a process is to be carried out in response to the SMS message. On detection of the "#" symbol by whichever of the two detecting circuits 12a or 12b detects the "#" symbol, the detecting circuit 12 transfers the SMS message directly to the processing circuit 14. In this embodiment of the invention since the SMS message originated from the SMS originating device 3 which is supported by the first telecommunications network 9, the "#" symbol in the SMS message is detected by the detecting circuit 12a, which then transfers the SMS message to the processing circuit 14.

The SMS message also includes a predefined processing instruction element, which in this embodiment of the invention is provided by the word "cash" which immediately follows the "#" symbol which indicates that a transfer of funds is to be made from a bank account associated with the SMS originating device to a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device. The processing circuit 14 on receiving the SMS message looks for the element immediately following the "#" symbol in order to determine the process to be carried out on the SMS message, or the process to be carried out in response to the SMS message. Thus, on detecting the word "cash" the processing circuit 14 implements a main routine which carries out the transfer of the funds from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device, as will be described in detail below with reference to Fig. 2.

The SMS message in this embodiment of the invention contains two other symbols, namely, the letter "x" which represents a variable for the currency of the funds to be transferred, and the letter "y" which represents a variable for the value of the funds to be transferred. Therefore, a typical example of an SMS message to transfer €1 ,000.00 from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 would be: #cash €1,000.00

The processing circuit 14 on determining that the SMS message comprises an instruction for the transfer of funds determines the identity of the SMS originating device from the telephone number of the SMS originating device from which the SMS message has been sent, and the processing circuit 14 determines the identity of the SMS receiving device from the telephone number of the SMS receiving device to which the SMS message is addressed. Both the telephone number of the SMS originating device and the telephone number of the SMS receiving device are contained in the SMS message details, and are read by the processing unit 14.

The processing circuit 14 reads the amount and the currency of the funds to be transferred from the SMS message, and identifies the bank associated with the SMS originating device and the bank associated with the SMS receiving device. In practice, SMS enabled devices supported by the first and second telecommunications networks, and indeed, supported by other telecommunications networks not shown wishing to participate in the system 1 according to the invention register with the system 1, and the particulars of the bank accounts associated with the SMS enabled devices and respective chosen secure PIN numbers are provided to the system 1 during registration, and the particulars of the associated bank accounts are stored in a memory means, provided by the memory 13 in the processing circuit 14 cross-referenced with the respective corresponding telephone numbers of the SMS enabled devices. The processing circuit 14 on determining the amount and currency of the funds to be transferred and the particulars of the bank accounts associated with the SMS originating and receiving devices 3 and 5 executes the main routine, which will be described below, for transferring the funds between the respective bank accounts by electronic banking. On successful completion of the funds transfer, the processing circuit 14 transmits respective SMS messages to the SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5 confirming the successful transfer of the funds.

In the event that the SMS receiving device 5 is not registered with the system 1 when the processing circuit 14 receives an SMS message instructing funds transfer from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5, the processing circuit 14 carries out a routine which registers the SMS receiving device 5 with the system 1 , if the SMS receiving device 5 so wishes, and wishes the transfer of the funds to be made via the system 1.

In cases where only the second telecommunication network 10 is equipped to support the system 1 and the first telecommunications network 9 in which the SMS message originating device 3 is supported is not equipped to support the system 1, when the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device 3 requiring a funds transfer is received by the detecting circuit 12b of the second telecommunications network 10, the SMS message is transferred by the detecting circuit 12b to the processing circuit 14, and the system 1 operates as already described. Needless to say, where both the first and second telecommunications networks 9 and 10 comprise a detecting circuit 12, the first of the two detecting circuits 12, which in this case is the detecting circuit 12a in the first telecommunications network 9 which supports the SMS originating device 3 on detecting the SMS message transmits the SMS message to the processing circuit 14.

Any SMS messages which do not contain the predefined identifying element, namely, the "#" symbol in the location of the first character of the SMS message are passed directly through the relevant telecommunications network or networks by the detecting circuit 12 to the appropriate SMS receiving device.

Referring now to Fig. 2 a flow chart of the method carried out by the main routine of a computer programme under which the computer 11 of the processing circuit 14 is operated for controlling operation of the system 1 to facilitate the transfer of funds from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 will now be described. Fig 2 is divided by two chain lines 22 and 23 into three sections, namely, a first section 24, a second section 25, and a third section 26. The first section 24 contains the flow chart of the method carried out by the main routine in the transfer of funds from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5. The second section 25 represents the actions carried out by the SMS originating device 3, while the third section 26 represents the actions carried out by the SMS receiving device 5. Turning initially to the first section 24, block 30 represents the detecting circuit 12a in the first telecommunications network 9 waiting to receive an SMS message, the first character of which is the "#" symbol. On the detecting circuit 12 detecting an SMS message commencing with the "#" symbol, the SMS message is passed by the detecting circuit 12 to the processing circuit 14. The detected SMS message may have been sent by an SMS enabled device supported by the first telecommunications network 9 or by an SMS enabled device in any other telecommunications network not equipped with a detecting device to support the system but for delivery to an SMS enabled device supported by the first telecommunications network 9. However, in this example the SMS enabled device which sends the SMS message is the SMS originating device 3 which is supported by the first telecommunications network 9, and the SMS enabled device which is to receive the SMS message is the SMS receiving device 3 which is supported by the second telecommunications network 10. Block 31 in the second section 25 represents the SMS message "#cash xy" being prepared and transmitted by the SMS originating device 3.

On block 30 detecting the SMS message "#cash xy" and transferring the SMS message to the processing circuit 14, the processing circuit 14 implements the main routine which will now be described and continues to operate under the main routine until the funds transfer has been completed.

Block 32 commences the main routine, and under block 32 the processing circuit 14 receives the SMS message "#cash xy" from the detecting circuit 12 and identifies the SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5 by determining the respective telephone numbers of the SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5 from the SMS message, which also includes the respective telephone numbers. The main routine then moved to block 33 which checks if the SMS message is a valid message, and if all the contents of the SMS message are valid, and moves to block 34. If the SMS message and its contents are not valid, block 34 moves the main routine to block 35 which generates a standard error message and the main routine moves to block 36. Block 36 transmits the error message to the SMS originating device 3. The reception of the error message by the SMS originating device 3 is represented in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 by block 37.

If block 34 determines that the SMS message received by block 32 is a valid SMS message and its contents are valid, block 34 moves the main routine to block 40. Block 40 checks if the SMS originating device is registered with the system and if its associated bank account is registered with the system 1 , and if so, block 40 moves the subroutine to block 41. Block 41 checks if the SMS receiving device 5 and its associated bank account are registered with the system 1 , and if so, block 41 moves the main routine to block 42.

Block 42 generates a unique payment security code for the particular transaction relating to the SMS message in order to ensure that the funds are securely transferred between the bank accounts associated with the respective SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5, and also in order to avoid any danger of the funds being transferred either from or to an incorrect bank account. The unique payment security code is a three-digit random number and is generated by a random number generated in the processing circuit 14. A new random number payment security code is generated for each SMS message relating to a funds transfer. On generation of the payment security code, the payment security code is stored in suitable memory in the processing circuit 14, for example, the memory 13, and the main routine moves to block 43. Block 43 generates an SMS message which includes the payment security code and a request to the SMS originating device 3 to make a phone call to a specified telephone number of the system 1. The telephone number specified in the SMS message generated by block 43 is that of an automated service, which is of the type generally known as an interactive voice response (IVR) service. Block 43 transmits the SMS message containing the payment security code and the request to make the telephone call to the specified number to the SMS originating device 3. Block 44 in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 represents receipt by the SMS originating device 3 of the payment security code. Block 45 in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 represents the phone call being made by the SMS originating device 3 to the specified telephone number contained in the SMS message generated by block 43.

After block 43 has transmitted the SMS message generated by block 43 to the SMS originating device 3, block 47 waits for a first predetermined time period, which in this embodiment of the invention is twenty-four hours, for the telephone call from the SMS originating device 3 in response to the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device 3 by block 43. On the requested phone call from the SMS originating device 3 being received by block 48, the main routine is moved to block 50, which answers the telephone call and asks for the secure PIN number chosen by the SMS originating device 3 when registering with the system 1 to be entered via the keypad of the SMS originating device 3. Block 51 in the second section 25 of Fig. 1 represents the chosen secure PIN number being keyed into the SMS originating device 3 and being transmitted. Block 53 waits for a second predetermined time period of approximately 5 seconds for the secure PIN number to be entered, and if a secure PIN number is received, block 53 compares the received secure PIN number against the registered secure PIN number, and if block 53 determines that the entered secure PIN number is the correct secure PIN number, block 53 urges the main routine to block 54.

At this stage the phone call made by the SMS originating device 3 in block 45 is still open, and block 54 states the particulars of the payment requested by the SMS originating device 3 under block 31 , and the main routine moves to block 55, which requests that the payment security code generated by block 42 should be entered via the keypad of the SMS originating device 3 in order to confirm that the transaction is to be proceeded with. Block 56 in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 represents the payment security code being keyed into the SMS originating device 3. After block 55 requests the payment security code, block 58 waits for a third predetermined time period of approximately five seconds for the payment security code to be entered. On receiving the payment security code, block 58 compares the payment security code with that generated by block 42. If the payment security code received by block 58 matches the payment security code generated by block 42, the subroutine moves to block 60, which will be described below. If block 48 determines that the requested telephone call has not been received from the SMS originating device 3 within the first predetermined time period, block 48 urges the main routine to block 49, which terminates the transaction.

If during the second predetermined time period a secure PIN number is not received by block 53, or if a PIN number is received by block 53 it is an incorrect PIN number, block 53 returns the main routine to block 50, which again requests the chosen secure PIN number from the SMS originating device 3. The main routine remains in this loop which comprises block 50 and 53 for three cycles, the durations of which are similar. If after the third cycle a secure pin number has not been received by block 53, or if received is an incorrect secure PIN number, the main routine is urged to block 49, which in this case terminates the phone call and the transaction.

If during the third predetermined time period block 58 fails to receive a payment security code, or if the payment security code received by block 58 is incorrect, block 58 returns the main routine to block 55, which again requests that the payment security code be entered by the SMS originating device 3. The main routine remains in the loop comprising blocks 55 and 58 for three cycles, the durations of which are similar, and if the correct payment security code has not been received by block 58 by the end of the third cycle, the main routine is urged to block 49, which terminates the phone call and the transaction.

Returning now to block 60, block 60 implements a subroutine for debiting the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 with the amount of the funds to be transferred electronically. Block 60 communicates electronically with the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 is held via the interface 15 to carry out an electronic banking process for debiting the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 with the amount and currency identified by the "x" and "y" variables contained in the SMS message "#cash xy". Block 60 then moves the main routine to block 61 which checks if the debiting of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 has been successful, and if so, the main routine moves to block 62. Block 62 implements a subroutine to electronically credit the amount and currency of the funds to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5. The main routine then moves to block 63, which checks if the crediting of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 by block 62 has been successful, and if so the main routine moves to block 64.

Block 64 generates a payment success SMS message which confirms the successful transfer of the funds from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the SMS receiving device 5, and the main routine moves to block 65. Block 65 includes the identity, in other words, the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the payment success SMS message generated by block 64, and block 65 then transmits the SMS message together with the identity of the SMS receiving device 5 to the SMS originating device 3. Block 66 in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 represents reception by the SMS originating device 3 of the SMS message transmitted by block 65. The main routine then moves to block 67 which includes the identity of the SMS originating device 3, namely, the telephone number thereof to the payment success SMS message generated by block 64, and transmits the SMS message together with the identity of the SMS originating device 3 to the SMS receiving device 5. Block 68 in the third section 26 of Fig. 2 represents receipt by the SMS receiving device 5 of the SMS message transmitted by block 67.

In the event that block 61 determines that the debiting of the account associated with the SMS originating device 3 has been unsuccessful the main routine is moved to block 70, which generates an SMS message indicating failure to debit the bank account of the SMS originating device 3 with the funds to be transferred, and the main routine moves to block 71. Block 71 transmits the SMS message generated by block 70 to the SMS originating device 3. Block 72 in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 represents reception by the SMS originating device 3 of the SMS message transmitted by block 71.

In the event that block 63 determines that the crediting of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 3 has been unsuccessful the subroutine moves to block 74, which implements a subroutine which credits the amount and currency of the funds debited by block 60 to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 back to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3. The crediting of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 by block 74 is carried out by electronic banking through the interface 15. The main routine then moves to block 70 which has already been described.

In addition, if block 63 determines that the crediting of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 has been unsuccessful the subroutine moves to block 75, which generates an SMS message indicating failure of the crediting by block 62 of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5. Block 76 transmits the fail message generated by block 75 to the SMS receiving device 5. Block 77 in the third section 26 of Fig. 2 represents reception by the SMS receiving device 5 of the SMS message transmitted by block 76.

In the event that block 40 determines that the SMS originating device 3 is not registered with the system 1 to transfer funds from its bank account to a bank account of another SMS enabled device, namely, the SMS receiving device 5, the main routine is moved to block 80. Block 80 implements a subroutine which invites the SMS originating device 3 to register with the system 1 , and the subroutine moves to block 81, which transmits an SMS message to the SMS originating device 3, is generated by block 80 which contains the invitation to register with the system 1.

The SMS message generated by block 80 includes a request to the SMS originating device 3 to make a telephone call to a specified telephone number of the system 1 in order to effect registration with the system 1. The telephone call to be made by the SMS originating device 3 is an interactive voice response call of the type similar to that requested to be made by block 43. When the SMS originating device 3 makes the requested telephone call, block 80 requests the name of the owner of the SMS originating device 3 to be entered as well as particulars of the bank account to be associated with the SMS originating device 3, and a request to choose and enter a secure PIN number to be used in transactions with the system 1 is also made by block 80. As discussed above, the bank account may be a current or a deposit account with any financial institution, such as a bank, building society or credit union or an account with the telephone company supporting the SMS originating device 3, or may be a credit, debit or charge card account. Block 82 in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 represents receipt by the SMS originating device 3 of the SMS message generated by block 80 inviting the SMS originating device 3 to register with the system 1 , and block 83 in the second section 25 of Fig. 2 represents the particulars which are subsequently requested by block 80 in the interactive voice response telephone call being entered by the SMS originating device 3, which are entered and received by blocks 81 and 80. On receipt of the requested data from the SMS originating device 3, block 80 executes the subroutine to register the SMS originating device 3, and records and stores the particulars of the bank account and the secure PIN number in the memory 13 cross-referenced with the identity, namely, the telephone number of the SMS originating device 3. After block 81 transmits the SMS message inviting the SMS originating device 3 to register with the system 1, block 80 waits for a fourth predetermined time period of twenty-four hours. If after the fourth predetermined time period block 80 does not receive the requested telephone call from the SMS originating device 3, the transaction is terminated.

On completion of registration of the SMS originating device 3 with the system 1, the main routine is moved to block 40. While the registration of the SMS originating device 3 has been described whereby the information required is obtained via an interactive voice response telephone call, the information could be obtained by the system 1 manually via an operator.

Should block 41 determine that the SMS receiving device 5 is not registered with system 1 , block 41 moves the main routine to block 85, which implements a subroutine similar to that implemented by block 80 inviting the SMS receiving device 5 to register with the system 1, so that the funds can be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5. Block 85 also generates an invitation to the SMS receiving device 5 inviting the SMS receiving device 5 to register with system 1. Block 86 transmits the SMS message generated by block 85.

Block 85 also includes a request in the generated SMS message requesting the SMS receiving device 5 to make a telephone call to a specified telephone number of the system 1 in order to effect registration of the SMS receiving device 5 with the system 1. The telephone call which is to be made by the SMS receiving device 5 is a similar type telephone call to that which is to be made by the SMS originating device 3 when registering with the system 1 under blocks 80 and 81, which have already been described. Block 87 in the third section 26 of Fig. 2 represents receipt by the SMS receiving device 5 of the SMS message inviting the SMS receiving device 5 to register with the system 1. Block 88 represents the operation of the SMS receiving device 5 making the requested telephone call to the specified telephone number of the system 1 in order to register with the system 1.

During execution of the registration subroutine by block 85 while the telephone call made by the SMS receiving device 5 is open, block 85 requests the name of the person who owns the SMS receiving device 5 and wishes to be registered with the system 1 to be entered and requests particulars of the bank account which is to be associated with the SMS receiving device 5, and a request to choose a secure PIN number to be used in transactions with the system 1 is also made by block 85. These particulars are entered by keying into the SMS receiving device 5. Block 88 represents the operation of the SMS receiving device 5 entering the requested particulars via block 86 to block 85 during execution of the registration subroutine. After block 86 transmits the SMS message inviting the SMS receiving device 5 to register with the system 1, block 85 waits for a fifth predetermined time period of twenty-four hours. If after the fifth predetermined time period block 85 has not received the requested telephone call from the SMS receiving device, the transaction is terminated and the SMS originating device is advised accordingly.

On completion of registration, the subroutine moves to block 41.

As discussed with respect to the registration of the SMS originating device 3, the telephone call which is to be made by the SMS receiving device 5 in response to the SMS message generated by block 85 may be an interactive voice response telephone call or may be a manually handled call to an operator. Similarly, as described with reference to registration of the SMS originating device 3, the bank account registered by the SMS receiving device 5 may be a current or a deposit account with any financial institution, such as a bank, building society or credit union, or an account with the telephone company supporting the SMS receiving device 5, or may be a credit, debit or charge card account.

A fee for successfully carrying out the funds transfer from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 is charged to the SMS originating device 3. The fee is debited to the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3. If the SMS originating device 3 is a bill pay telephone, the fee for transferring the funds from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 is debited to the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3 and appears on the next bill forwarded in connection with the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3. On the other hand, if the SMS originating device 3 is a prepaid telephone, the fee for transferring the funds from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 is decremented from the account of the prepaid phone.

The operation of the system 1 to translate an SMS message being sent by one SMS enabled device to another SMS enabled device will now be described. The format in which an SMS message is to be constructed in order to be translated is as follows:

#en2f r xyz For example, if the SMS message is to include the following sentence:

"how do I get to the hotel from the station?", the SMS message is constructed as follows:

#en2fr how do I get to the hotel from the station

Assuming the SMS enabled originating device is supported by the first telecommunications network 7, and is the SMS originating device 3, and also assuming that the SMS enabled receiving device to which the SMS message is being sent is supported by the second telecommunications network 10 and is the SMS receiving device 5, the detecting circuit 12a in the first telecommunications network 9 on detecting the predefined identifying element, namely, the "#" symbol in the SMS message, directs the SMS message to the processing circuit 14. The processing circuit 14 searches the predefined processing instruction element which follows immediately after the "#" symbol, and in this case the predefined processing instruction element is the instruction "en2fr" which is an instruction to translate the SMS message from English to French, "en" being the abbreviation for the English language, and "fr" being the abbreviation for the French language, and the numeral "2" being representative of the preposition "to".

On interpreting the predefined processing instruction element as being an instruction to translate the SMS message from English to French, the processing circuit 14 via the interface 16 transmits the SMS message namely, "how do I get to the hotel from the station?" to the machine translation service 17 with a tagged instruction to translate the SMS message from English to French. In response to the translation instruction the translation service 17 translates the SMS message and returns the following translated message "Comment est-ce que j'arrive a I'hotel du poste?" to the processing circuit 14. The processing circuit 14 then transmits the translated SMS message to the SMS receiving device 5 as a normal standard SMS message without the "#" symbol or the translation instruction "en2fr".

In many cases it may be desired to transmit the translated SMS message to a number of receiving devices. If so, the originating device 3 merely indicates all the SMS receiving devices 5 by their telephone number to which the translated SMS message is to be transmitted. The processing circuit 14 identifies the SMS receiving devices 5 to which the translated SMS message is to be transmitted from the SMS message, and on receiving the translated SMS message from the translation service 17, the processing circuit 14 transmits the translated SMS message to all the SMS receiving devices 5 to which it is to be transmitted.

Initially on receiving the SMS message to be translated from the detecting circuit 12, the processing circuit 14 identifies the SMS originating device 3 from which the SMS message has been sent, and the one or more SMS receiving devices 5 to which the SMS message is to be transmitted. The identities of the SMS originating device 3 and the one or more SMS receiving devices 5 is determined from the SMS message by reading the telephone numbers of the SMS originating and receiving devices 3 and 5 from the SMS message. This is similar to the step carried out by block 32 of the flowchart of Fig. 2. The processing circuit 14 then checks if the SMS message is a valid SMS message as carried out by block 33 of the flowchart in Fig. 2. If the SMS message is invalid, the processing circuit 14 proceeds to generate an error message which is then transmitted to the SMS originating device 3 as in block 35 and 36 of the flowchart of Fig. 2. If the SMS message is determined by the processing circuit 14 as being a valid SMS message, the processing circuit 14 having determined the nature of the predefined processing instruction element which in this case is an instruction to translate the SMS message from English to French, the processing circuit 14 via the interface 16 transmits the SMS message to the translation service 17 for translation.

In this case there is no requirement for the SMS originating device 3 or the SMS receiving advices 5 to be registered with the system 1 , and thus, the processing circuit 14 does not check if the SMS originating device 5 or the SMS receiving device or devices 5 are registered with the system 1. The fee for translation of the SMS message is debited to the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3 and appears on the next telephone bill of the SMS originating device 3, or in the case of a prepaid SMS originating device, the fee for translation of the SMS message is decremented from the current credit of the prepaid account of the SMS originating device 3.

The operation of the system 1 for spellchecking an SMS message will now be described. The operation of the system 1 for spellchecking and SMS message is substantially similar to the operation of the system 1 for translating an SMS message. The format of an SMS message which is to be spellchecked is as follows:

#spellck xyz

The predefined identifying element is again the "#" symbol. The predefined processing instruction element is the abbreviated word "spellck", which follows immediately after the "#" symbol. The SMS message to be spellchecked is represented by the letters "xyz". Thus, a typical SMS message to be spellchecked would be as follows:

#spellck I will meet yoo at the Gaiety Theatar at 7.30pm

As can be seen the word "you" is misspelt as is the word "theatre". The corrected SMS message after being subject to the spell check which is sent to the SMS receiving device 5 reads as follows:

I will meet you at the Gaiety Theatre at 7.30pm.

As with the SMS message to be translated, the processing circuit 14 on receipt of the SMS message to be spellchecked determines the identity of the originating device 3 and the one or more receiving devices 5 to which the SMS message is to be sent, and checks if the SMS message is a valid SMS message. If not an error message is generated and transmitted to the SMS originating device 3. On the SMS message being determined as being a valid SMS message, the portion of the SMS message to be spell checked is transmitted to the spell check device 21 via the interface 20 for spellchecking and correction of any misspellings in the SMS message. The corrected SMS message is returned to the processing circuit 14 which is then transmitted to the one or more SMS receiving devices to which it is to be transmitted. Again, in this case it is not necessary for the SMS originating device 3 or the one or more SMS receiving devices 5 to be registered with the system 1 , and debiting of the fee for spell checking and correcting misspellings in the SMS message is debited to the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3 or decremented from the current credit of the SMS originating device 3.

Where an SMS originating device 3 wishes to send an SMS message to one or more SMS receiving devices 5 which includes the current location of the SMS originating device 3, an SMS message in the following format is prepared:

#loc xyz

A typical message in which it is desired to insert the current location of the SMS originating device 3 would be as follows:

#loc can you pick me up?

The predefined identifying element is again the "#" symbol, the predefined processing instruction element is the abbreviation of the word "location", namely, the word "loc" which follows immediately after the "#" symbol, and the text part of the SMS message which is represented by the letters "xyz" is

"can you pick me up?"

The processing circuit 14 on receiving such an SMS message again determines the identity of the SMS originating device 3 and the one or more SMS receiving devices 5 to which the SMS message including the location of the SMS originating device 3 is to be transmitted, and checks if the SMS message is a valid SMS message. This is similar to block 32 and 33 of the flowchart of Fig. 2. If the SMS message is deemed to be invalid, and error SMS message is generated and transmitted to the SMS originating device 3 as already explained with reference to blocks 35 and 36 of the flowchart of Fig. 2. If the SMS message is deemed to be valid, the processing circuit 14 requests the GPS circuit 19 to query the GPS system of the SMS originating device 3 via the interface 18 as to the co-ordinates of the current location of the SMS originating device 3. On receiving the co-ordinates of the current location of the SMS originating device 3 from the SMS originating device 3, the GPS circuit 19 converts the co-ordinates of the current location of the SMS originating device 3 into its location with reference to a street address, or with reference to a street or streets adjacent which the SMS originating device 3 is currently located. The GPS circuit 19 communicates the street address or the location with reference to a street or streets of the SMS originating device 3 to the processing circuit 14. The GPS circuit 15 is programmed and is provided with a database suitable for facilitating conversion of the co-ordinates of the location of the SMS originating device 3 obtained from the SMS originating device 3 to the street address at which the SMS originating device 3 is currently located, or to a street or streets which identify the current location of the SMS originating device 3.

The processing circuit 14 then reconstructs the SMS message to be transmitted to the SMS receiving device or devices 5 to include the current location of the SMS originating device 3. A typical reconstructed SMS message would read as follows:

"I am at the corner of Main Street and Shop Street in Ennis. Can you pick me up?"

It should be understood that this aspect of the system 1 would most likely be operable in cases where the SMS originating device 3 is provided with a GPS system.

In this case there is no requirement for either the SMS originating device 3 or the one or more receiving devices 5 to be registered with the system 1 , and the fee for providing the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device 3 and inserting the particulars in the SMS message is debited to the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3, or is decremented from the current credit of the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3 if the SMS originating device is a prepaid SMS originating device.

The operation of the system 1 for facilitating topping up the current credit of the telephone account of an SMS enabled device will now be described. For example, should it be desired to give a present of a top-up to the credit of the account of an SMS receiving device 5, in cases typically where the SMS receiving device 5 is a prepaid SMS receiving device 5, by an SMS originating device, the SMS originating device 3 constructs the following SMS message: #topupxy abc

In this case the predefined identifying element is again the "#" symbol, the predefined processing instruction element is the word "topup" indicating that a top-up of a credit of an SMS enabled device is required. The letters "x" and "y" are respectively representative of the currency and the amount of the top-up. The letters "abc" are representative of part of an SMS message to be transmitted to the SMS receiving device 5 for which the top-up is intended.

A typical SMS message to top-up an SMS receiving device 5 could be as follows: #topup €20 Make it last longer this time!

The message to be included in the SMS message to be transmitted to the SMS receiving device 5 along with confirmation of the top-up is "Make it last longer this time!"

On receiving the SMS message from the detecting circuit 12, the processing circuit 14 carries out the steps similar to blocks 32, 33 and 34 of the main routine of the flowchart of Fig. 2 to identify the SMS originating device 3 and the SMS receiving device 5 and to validate the SMS message. If block 34 determines that the SMS message is an invalid message, the processing circuit 14 carries out the steps of blocks 35 and 36 and generates an error SMS message which is transmitted to the SMS originating device 3. Otherwise, the main routine of the flowchart of Fig. 2 is moved to block 40 of the main routine to check if the SMS originating device 3 is registered with the system 1. In this case, registration of the SMS originating device 3 with the system 1 is necessary, since the amount of the top-up will be debited to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3. Thus, if the SMS originating device 3 is not registered with the system 1 , block 40 moves the main routine through blocks 80 and 81 which have already been described.

However, in this case since the top-up is being credited to the telephone account of the SMS receiving device 5 there is no need for the SMS receiving device to have an associated bank account, and accordingly, if block 40 determines that the SMS originating device 3 is registered with the system 1 , block 40 moves the main routine directly to block 42. Thereafter the main routine moves through block 43, 47, 48, 50, 53, 54, 55 and 58, and if appropriate moves from blocks 48, 53 and 58 to block 49 to terminate the transaction and/or the call as has already been described with reference to Fig. 2. The main routine of the flowchart of Fig. 2 also moves through block 60 and 61 , and if debiting of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 to the amount of the top-up has been unsuccessful, the main routine moves through block 70 and 71 which have already been described. If the debiting by block 60 of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 has been successful, the subroutine moves to block 62, which instead of crediting a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device 5 credits the telephone account of the SMS receiving device 5 with the amount of the top-up. Thereafter the main routine moves through blocks 63, 64, 65, 66, 67 and 68 where the crediting of the telephone account of the SMS receiving device 5 with the top-up amount has been successful. However, in the case of blocks 64 and 65 a success SMS message which includes the identity of the SMS receiving device 5 indicating successful topping up of the telephone account of the receiving device 5 is generated and transmitted to the SMS originating device 3, and where the telephone account of the SMS receiving device 5 has been successfully credited with the top- up amount the message transmitted to the SMS receiving device which also includes the identity of the SMS originating device 3 is as follows:

"I have topped you up €20. Make it last longer this time!"

If block 63 determines that the crediting of the SMS receiving device 5 account has been unsuccessful, block 63 urges the main routine to block 74 which has already been described and also to block 75 and 76 which have already been described.

The system 1 is also configurable to carry out a process in connection with an SMS message from an SMS enabled device, for example, the SMS originating device 3, which may be a process which is carried out on the SMS message, and is returned to the SMS originating device 3, or may be a process carried out in response to the SMS message from the SMS originating device 3. For example, if the SMS originating device 3 were, for example, a prepaid SMS originating device 3, and it was desired to top-up the current credit of the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3, the SMS originating device 3 would send an SMS message as follows:

#topmeupxy

The "#" symbol is the predefined identifying element, the word "topmeup" is the predefined process instruction element, and the letters "x" and "y" are variables representative of the currency and amount, respectively, by which the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3 is to be topped up. Thus, a typical SMS message from the SMS originating device 3 to top-up the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3 by €20 would read:

#topmeup€20.

On receiving the SMS message from the SMS originating device 3, the detecting circuit 12a transfers the SMS message to the processing circuit 14, which carries out steps corresponding to blocks 32 to 40, 42, 43, 47, 48, 50, 53, 54, 55 and 58 of the flowchart of Fig. 2. Block 60 then debits the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3, and on block 61 determining that the bank account associated with the SMS originating device 3 had been successfully debited with the amount of the top-up, block 62 then credits the telephone account of the SMS originating device with the top-up amount. On block 63 determining that the telephone account of the SMS originating device 3 has been successfully credited, block 64 generates a success message, which is transmitted to the SMS originating device 3 confirming the successful topping up.

If the SMS originating device 3 had not already been registered with the system 1 , block 40 would proceed to block 80 and in turn to block 81 to register the SMS originating device 3 with the system 1.

It will of course be appreciated that the system 1 using the same SMS message could be used to pay a bill of a bill-pay SMS enabled device.

The system 1 is also configurable for use in translating an SMS message or spell checking an SMS message from an SMS originating device, and returning the translated or spell checked SMS message to the SMS originating device. Further, the system 1 is configurable to determine the location of an SMS originating device in response to an SMS message from the SMS originating device, and to transmit an SMS message to the SMS originating device which contains the location of the SMS originating device, which would indicate the street address or the street or streets adjacent which the SMS originating device 3 is.

While the system according to the invention has been described for carrying out specific processes on SMS messages, and/or for carrying out specific processes in responses to SMS messages, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the processes to which an SMS message may be subjected or the processes which may be carried out in response to an SMS message are virtually limitless. All that is required is to provide a suitable predefined processing instructing element in the SMS message to indicate the type of process to which the SMS message is to be subjected, or which is to be earned out in response to reception of the SMS message, and then programme the processing circuit appropriately to recognise the instruction in the predefined processing instruction element and to carry out the process. For example, the system may be configured also to place a bet, for example, with a bookie, and in which case, the format of the SMS message could be:

#betabxycdef

The predefined identifying element is again the "#" sign, the predefined processing instruction element is the word "bet", indicating that a bet is to be place, and the letters "ab" represent the type of bet to be placed, for example, in the case of a bet on a horse race, whether the bet is to win or for a place, the letters "x" and "y" representing the currency and amount, respectively, of the bet, and the letters "cdef represent the name of the horse, for example, on which the bet is being placed.

Another example of a process for which the system 1 may be configured would be to facilitate an SMS originating device to request an SMS receiving device to top-up the telephone account of the SMS originating device, typically where the SMS originating device is a prepaid SMS enabled device. In such a case, the SMS message generated by the SMS originating device could be, for example,

#cashmexy

In this case the predefined identifying element is the "#" symbol. The predefined processing instruction element is the words "cash me", indicating a request for a top- up to be made to the SMS originating device 3, and the letters "x" and "y" variables represent the currency and amount of the top-up, respectively. Additionally, the system 1 may be configured to facilitate a request to be made by an SMS originating device for particulars of the current location of an SMS receiving device, and the SMS message would be appropriately constructed. Needless to say, it will be appreciated that the system may be configured to carry out many other processes on or in response to an SMS message.

While the system has been described for use with two mobile phones, namely, an originating mobile phone and a receiving mobile phone, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the system is suitable for use with any type of SMS enabled device, be it a landline telephone, a mobile telephone or the like.

It will also of course be appreciated that the SMS enabled device or devices which is or are to receive the SMS message may be supported by the same telecommunications network as that which supports the SMS enabled device which originates the SMS message. Needless to say, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that while only two telecommunications networks have been illustrated in Fig. 1 and have been described with reference to Fig. 1, any number of telecommunications networks may be provided, and preferably, each telecommunication network would be provided with a detecting circuit 12 for detecting the predefined identifying element, namely, the "#" symbol at the commencement of the SMS message. Indeed, as already described it is not necessary for every telecommunications network to include a detecting circuit for detecting the predefined identifying element provided that one of the telecommunications networks which supports either the SMS originating device or the SMS receiving device has such a detecting circuit.

It will of course be appreciated that while the first telecommunications network has been described as supporting the SMS originating device, and the second telecommunications network has been described as supporting the SMS receiving device, both the first and second telecommunications networks will support both originating and receiving devices, and needless to say, it will be appreciated that the SMS originating devices will also have an SMS message receiving facility, as will be the SMS receiving devices have an SMS message originating facility.

While the SMS messages which activate the system according to the invention have been described as being of a particular format, it is envisaged that other suitable formats may be used. For example, while the predefined identifying element has been described as being the "#" symbol, other suitable symbols or combination of symbols and/or characters may be used as the predefined identifying element, and furthermore, it is envisaged that the predefined identifying element may be located in the SMS message at a location other than the location of the first character or characters thereof.

Needless to say, other suitable letters, symbols and/or characters may be used for predefined processing instruction elements besides those described, and they may be located in the SMS message in locations other than immediately following the predefined identifying element. Needless to say, it is envisaged that the words of the SMS message which is to be processed, or the words of the SMS message in response to which a process is to be carried out may be provided in a location in the SMS message other than immediately following the predefined processing instruction element.

Additionally, while the generation of a payment security code has been described in the funds transfer process and in the top-up process for topping up the telephone account of an SMS enabled device, it is envisaged in certain cases that the funds transfer process and the top-up process may be carried out without the need to generate a payment security code, and in which case, the process for transferring funds and for topping up would not then subsequently request the SMS originating device to enter such a payment security code.

It is also envisaged that in certain cases, the bank accounts associated both with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device may in fact be telephone accounts of the respective SMS originating and receiving devices. This would particularly be the case where telephone network providers also offer a type of banking facility associated with the SMS enabled device.

While predetermined time periods of specific values have been described during which various blocks of the main routine of Fig. 2 wait for either a telephone call or a response to a query, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that any other suitable time periods other than those specified may be used.

Claims

Claims
1. A method for processing an SMS message from one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) as the SMS message is being routed from the SMS originating device to another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device), the method comprising: detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element, and transmitting an SMS message resulting from the processing thereof to the SMS receiving device.
2. A method as claimed in Claim 1 in which the identity of both the SMS originating device and the identity of the SMS receiving device are determined from the SMS message.
3. A method as claimed in Claim 1 or 2 in which the predefined processing instruction element is one of a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements.
4. A method as claimed in Claim 3 in which at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process.
5. A method as claimed in Claim 4 in which the processed SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device is a message confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out.
6. A method as claimed in Claim 5 in which the processed SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device comprises the identity of the SMS originating device.
7. A method as claimed in any of Claims 4 to 6 in which a confirmatory SMS message is transmitted to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out.
8. A method as claimed in Claim 7 in which the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device comprises the identity of the SMS receiving device.
9. A method as claimed in any of Claims 4 to 8 in which the predetermined process is a funds transfer process.
10. A method as claimed in Claim 9 in which in response to the predefined processing instruction element the amount of the funds and the currency thereof to be transferred is determined from the SMS message.
11. A method as claimed in Claim 9 or 10 in which the payer from which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the payee to which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message.
12. A method as claimed in any of Claims 9 to 11 in which the method further comprises identifying a bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred.
13. A method as claimed in Claim 12 in which the method further includes obtaining particulars of the bank account from which the funds are to be transferred from one of a plurality of bank accounts, particulars of which are stored and cross- referenced with respective SMS originating devices.
14. A method as claimed in Claim 12 or 13 in which the method further comprises requesting a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device.
15. A method as claimed in Claim 14 in which the method comprises validating a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device.
16. A method as claimed in Claim 15 in which the instruction to transfer the funds is authenticated in response to the entered PIN number being determined as being a valid PIN number.
17. A method as claimed in any of Claims 9 to 16 in which the method further comprises obtaining particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.
18. A method as claimed in Claim 17 in which the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device is obtained from a list of bank accounts cross-referenced with associated SMS originating or receiving devices.
19. A method as claimed in Claim 17 in which the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device are obtained by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.
20. A method as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 19 in which the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices.
21. A method as claimed in Claim 20 in which the method comprises storing particulars of the bank accounts associated with the respective SMS receiving devices.
22. A method as claimed in any of Claims 12 to 21 in which the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices.
23. A method as claimed in Claim 22 in which the method comprises storing particulars of the bank accounts associated with the respective SMS originating devices.
24. A method as claimed in any of Claims 9 to 23 in which the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred.
25. A method as claimed in any of Claims 9 to 24 in which the currency of the funds to be transferred is determined from the SMS message.
26. A method as claimed in any of Claims 9 to 25 in which the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value.
27. A method as claimed in any of Claims 9 to 26 in which the value of the funds to be transferred is determined from the SMS message.
28. A method as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 27 in which the method further comprises issuing an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
29. A method as claimed in any of Claims 17 to 28 in which the method further comprises issuing an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto.
30. A method as claimed in Claim 29 in which the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred is issued in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
31. A method as claimed in Claim 29 or 30 in which the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device are issued in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.
32. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages.
33. A method as claimed in Claim 32 in which the method further comprises translating the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction.
34. A method as claimed in Claim 33 in which the method further comprises transmitting the translated SMS message to the SMS receiving device.
35. A method as claimed in Claim 33 or 34 in which the SMS message is machine translated in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction.
36. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device into the SMS message prior to transmitting the SMS message to the SMS receiving device.
37. A method as claimed in Claim 36 in which the method further comprises determining the location of the SMS originating device and inserting particulars of the location of the SMS originating device in the SMS message.
38. A method as claimed in Claim 37 in which the method further comprises transmitting the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted in the SMS message.
39. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message.
40. A method as claimed in Claim 39 in which the method further comprises checking the spelling of the words in the SMS message and correcting misspellings, and transmitting the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS receiving device.
41. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS receiving device.
42. A method as claimed in Claim 41 in which the method further comprises issuing an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the requested top-up amount, and to credit the telephone account of the SMS receiving device with the top-up amount.
43. A method as claimed in Claim 41 or 42 in which an SMS message is generated confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS receiving device, and is transmitted to the SMS originating device and to the SMS receiving device.
44. A method as claimed in any of Claims 41 to 43 in which the amount by which the telephone account of the SMS receiving device is to be topped up is determined from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device.
45. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message.
46. A method as claimed in any of claims in which the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message.
47. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the process required to be carried out on the SMS message or in response to the SMS message.
48. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element.
49. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the text in the SMS message to be processed is identified in the SMS message by a predefined marking means.
50. A method as claimed in Claim 49 in which the marking means for identifying the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed comprises one of inverted commas, brackets and a space of one or more characters in length within which or after which the text to be processed is inserted in the SMS message.
51. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed is located after the predefined processing instruction element.
52. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined identifying element is the "#" symbol.
53. A method for facilitating the transfer of funds from a bank account associated with one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) to a bank account associated with another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device) in a response to an SMS message from the SMS originating device to the SMS receiving device, the method comprising: detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of a processing requirement, identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a funds transfer instruction, determining from the SMS message the value and the currency of the funds to be transferred, and initialising transfer of the funds.
54. A method as claimed in Claim 53 in which the identity of both the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device are determined from the SMS message.
55. A method as claimed in Claim 53 or 54 in which an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds is generated and transmitted to the SMS receiving device.
56. A method as claimed in Claim 55 in which the SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device comprises the identify of the SMS originating device.
57. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 56 in which an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds is generated and transmitted to the SMS originating device.
58. A method as claimed in Claim 57 in which the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device comprises the identity of the SMS receiving device.
59. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 58 in which the payer from which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the payee to which the funds are to be transferred is identified by the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message.
60. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 59 in which the method further includes identifying the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred.
61. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 60 in which the method further comprises obtaining particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred from one of a plurality of bank accounts, particulars of which are stored and cross-referenced with respective SMS originating devices.
62. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 61 in which the method further comprises requesting a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device.
63. A method as claimed in Claim 62 in which the method comprises validating a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device.
64. A method as claimed in Claim 63 in which the instruction to transfer the funds is authenticated in response to the entered PIN being determined as being a valid PIN number.
65. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 64 in which the method further comprises obtaining particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
66. A method as claimed in Claim 65 in which the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device is obtained from a list of bank accounts cross-referenced with associated SMS originating or receiving devices.
67. A method as claimed in Claim 65 in which the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device are obtained by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.
68. A method as claimed in any of Claims 65 to 67 in which the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices.
69. A method as claimed in Claim 68 in which the method comprises storing particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices.
70. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 69 in which the method further comprises registering particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices.
71. A method as claimed in Claim 70 in which the method comprises storing particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices.
72. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 71 in which the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred.
73. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 72 in which the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value.
74. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 73 in which the method further comprises issuing an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
75. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 74 in which the method further includes issuing an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto.
76. A method as claimed in Claim 75 in which the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device is issued in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
77. A method as claimed in Claim 75 or 76 in which the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device are issued in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.
78. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 77 in which the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message.
79. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 78 in which the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message.
80. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 79 in which the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the instruction to transfer funds.
81. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 80 in which the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element.
82. A method as claimed in any of Claims 53 to 81 in which the currency and the value of funds to be transferred are located in the SMS message after the predefined processing instruction element.
83. A system for processing an SMS message from one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) as the SMS message is being routed from the SMS originating device to another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device), the system comprising: a detecting means for detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, an identifying means for identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, a processing means for carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element, and a means for transmitting an SMS message resulting from the processing thereof to the SMS receiving device.
84. A system as claimed in Claim 83 in which the processing means is adapted for determining the identity of both the SMS originating device and the identity of the SMS receiving device from the SMS message.
85. A system as claimed in Claim 83 or 84 in which the predefined processing instruction element is one of a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements.
86. A system as claimed in Claim 85 in which at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process.
87. A system as claimed in Claim 86 in which the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message to the SMS receiving device confirming that the predetermined process has been earned out.
88. A system as claimed in Claim 86 in which the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS originating device into the SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device.
89. A system as claimed in any of Claims 86 to 88 in which the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out.
90. A system as claimed in Claim 89 in which the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS receiving device into the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device.
91. A system as claimed in any of Claims 86 to 90 in which the predetermined process is a funds transfer process.
92. A system as claimed in Claim 91 in which the processing means is adapted to determine the value of the funds and the currency thereof to be transferred from the SMS message.
93. A system as claimed in Claim 91 or 92 in which the processing means is adapted to identify the payer from which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to identify the payee to which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message.
94. A system as claimed in any of Claims 91 to 93 in which the processing means is adapted to identify a bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred.
95. A system as claimed in any of Claims 91 to 94 in which a storing means is provided for storing particulars of a plurality of bank accounts cross-referenced with respective SMS originating devices with which the bank accounts are associated.
96. A system as claimed in Claim 95 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the storing means.
97. A system as claimed in any of Claims 94 to 96 in which the processing means is adapted to request a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device.
98. A system as claimed in Claim 97 in which the processing means is adapted to validate a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device.
99. A system as claimed in Claim 98 in which the processing means is adapted to authenticate the instruction to transfer the funds in response to the entered PIN number being determined as being a valid PIN number.
100. A system as claimed in any of Claims 91 to 99 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.
101. A system as claimed in Claim 100 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.
102. A system as claimed in Claim 100 in which the storing means stores particulars of a plurality of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices cross-referenced with the corresponding SMS receiving devices.
103. A system as claimed in Claim 102 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device from the storing means.
104. A system as claimed in any of Claims 100 to 103 in which the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices and to enter the particulars of the bank accounts cross- referenced with the corresponding SMS receiving devices.
105. A system as claimed in any of Claims 94 to 104 in which the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices and to enter the particulars of the bank accounts cross- referenced with the corresponding SMS receiving devices.
106. A system as claimed in any of Claims 91 to 105 in which the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred.
107. A system as claimed in any of Claims 91 to 106 in which the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value.
108. A system as claimed in any of Claims 100 to 107 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
109. A system as claimed in any of Claims 100 to 108 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto.
110. A system as claimed in Claim 109 in which the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
111. A system as claimed in Claim 109 or 110 in which the processing means is adapted to issue the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.
112. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 111 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages.
113. A system as claimed in Claim 112 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a language translating means to translate the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction.
114. A system as claimed in Claim 113 in which the processing means is adapted to transmit the translated SMS message to the SMS receiving device.
115. A system as claimed in Claim 113 or 114 in which the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to translate the SMS message to a machine translating means in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction.
116. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 115 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device into the SMS message prior to transmitting the SMS message to the SMS receiving device.
117. A system as claimed in Claim 116 in which the processing means is adapted to determine the location of the SMS originating device in response to the predefined processing instruction element being an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device, and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device in the SMS message.
118. A system as claimed in Claim 117 in which the processing means is adapted to transmit the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted in the SMS message.
119. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 118 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message.
120. A system as claimed in Claim 119 in which the processing means is adapted to check the spelling of the words in the SMS message and to correct misspellings in response to the predefined processing instruction being a spell check instruction, and to transmit the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS receiving device.
121. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 120 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS receiving device.
122. A system as claimed in Claim 121 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the requested top-up amount in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a top-up instruction, and to issue an instruction to credit the telephone account of the SMS receiving device with the top-up amount.
123. A system as claimed in Claim 121 or 122 in which the processing means is adapted to generate an SMS message confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS receiving device, and to transmit the SMS message to the SMS originating device and to the SMS receiving device.
124. A system as claimed in any of Claims 121 to 123 in which the processing means is adapted to determine the amount by which the telephone account of the SMS receiving device is to be topped up from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device.
125. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 124 in which the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message, and the detecting means is adapted to search for the predefined character.
126. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 125 in which the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message, and the detecting means is adapted to look for the predefined identifying element in the location of the first character in the SMS message.
127. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 126 in which the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the process required to be carried out on the SMS message or in response to the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to search for the word or the abbreviated word in the SMS message.
128. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 127 in which the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element, and the processing means is adapted to look for the predefined processing instruction element at the location immediately following the predefined identifying element.
129. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 128 in which the text in the SMS message to be processed is identified in the SMS message by a predefined marking means, and the processing means is adapted to search for the marking means in the SMS message.
130. A system as claimed in Claim 129 in which the marking means for identifying the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed comprises one of inverted commas, brackets and a space of one or more characters in length within which or after which the text to be processed is inserted in the SMS message.
131. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 130 in which the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed is located after the predefined processing instruction element, and the processing means is adapted to search for the text to be processed in a location after the predefined processing instruction element.
132. A system as claimed in any of Claims 83 to 131 in which the predefined identifying element is the "#" symbol, and the processing means is adapted to search the SMS message for the "#" symbol.
133. A system for facilitating the transfer of funds from a bank account associated with one SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device) to a bank account associated with another SMS enabled device (an SMS receiving device) in a response to an SMS message from the SMS originating device to the SMS receiving device, the system comprising: a detecting means for detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of a processing requirement, an identifying means for identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a funds transfer instruction, and a processing means for determining from the SMS message the value and the currency of the funds to be transferred, and for initialising transfer of the funds.
134. A system as claimed in Claim 133 in which the processing means is adapted to determine the identity of both the SMS originating device and the identity of the SMS receiving device from the SMS message.
135. A system as claimed in Claim 133 or 134 in which the processing means is adapted to generate and to transmit an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds to the SMS receiving device in response to the funds being transferred.
136. A system as claimed in Claim 135 in which the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS originating device in the SMS message transmitted to the SMS receiving device.
137. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 136 in which the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message confirming transfer of the funds to the SMS originating device in response to the funds being transferred.
138. A system as claimed in Claim 137 in which the processing means is adapted to insert the identity of the SMS receiving device into the SMS message transmitted to the SMS originating device.
139. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 138 in which the processing means is adapted to identify the payer from which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS originating device in the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to identify the payee to which the funds are to be transferred from the telephone number of the SMS receiving device in the SMS message.
140. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 139 in which the processing means is adapted to identify the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from which the funds are to be transferred.
141. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 140 in which a storing means is provided for storing particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices cross-referenced with respective corresponding SMS originating devices.
142. A system as claimed in Claim 141 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the storing means.
143. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 142 in which the processing means is adapted to request a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device.
144. A system as claimed in Claim 143 in which the processing means is adapted to validate a PIN number entered in respect of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device.
145. A system as claimed in Claim 144 in which the processing means is adapted to authenticate the instruction to transfer the funds in response to the entered PIN being determined as being a valid PIN for the identified bank account.
146. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 145 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
147. A system as claimed in Claim 146 in which storing means stores particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS receiving devices cross- referenced with corresponding SMS originating devices.
148. A system as claimed in Claim 147 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device from the storing means.
149. A system as claimed in Claim 146 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain the particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device by issuing a request to the SMS receiving device to supply particulars of a bank account associated with the SMS receiving device to which the funds are to be transferred.
150. A system as claimed in any of Claims 146 to 149 in which the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS rpr.pivinπ rievir.ps
151. A system as claimed in any of Claims 140 to 150 in which the processing means is adapted to register particulars of bank accounts associated with respective SMS originating devices.
152. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 151 in which the SMS message comprises one of a symbol and a word indicative of the currency of the funds to be transferred.
153. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 152 in which the value of the funds to be transferred is inserted in the SMS message as a numerical value.
154. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 153 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device with the amount to be transferred to the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device.
155. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 154 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device with the amount to be transferred thereto.
156. A system as claimed in Claim 155 in which the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to credit the bank account associated with the SMS receiving device in response to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device having been debited with the amount to be transferred from the bank account associated with the SMS originating device.
157. A system as claimed in Claim 155 or 156 in which the processing means is adapted to issue the instructions to debit and credit the respective bank accounts associated with the SMS originating device and the SMS receiving device in the form of an electronic funds transfer instructions.
158. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 157 in which the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message.
159. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 158 in which the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to look for the predefined identifying element in the location of the first character of the SMS message.
160. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 159 in which the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the instruction to transfer funds.
161. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 160 in which the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element, and the processing means is adapted to look for the predefined processing instruction element in the location immediately following the predefined identifying element in the SMS message.
162. A system as claimed in any of Claims 133 to 161 in which the currency and the value of funds to be transferred are located in the SMS message after the predefined processing instruction element, and the processing means is adapted to look for the currency and the value of the funds in the SMS message at the location after the predefined processing instruction element.
163. A method for carrying out a process in connection with an SMS message from an SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device), the method comprising: detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, and carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element.
164. A method as claimed in Claim 163 in which the identity of the SMS originating device is determined from the SMS message.
165. A method as claimed in Claim 163 or 164 in which the predefined processing instruction element is one of a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements.
166. A method as claimed in Claim 165 in which at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process in response to the SMS message.
167. A method as claimed in Claim 166 in which a confirmatory SMS message is transmitted to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out.
168. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 167 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS originating device.
169. A method as claimed in Claim 168 in which the amount and the currency by which the telephone account of the SMS receiving device is to be topped up is determined from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device.
170. A method as claimed in Claim 168 or 169 in which the method further comprises identifying a bank account associated with the SMS originating device against the amount of the top-up is to be debited.
171. A method as claimed in Claim 170 in which the method further includes obtaining particulars of the bank account against which the top-up amount is to be debited from one of a plurality of bank accounts, particulars of which are stored and cross-referenced with respective SMS enabled devices.
172. A method as claimed in Claim 169 or 170 in which the method further comprises requesting a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device.
173. A method as claimed in Claim 172 in which the method comprises validating a PIN number entered by the SMS originating device.
174. A method as claimed in any of Claims 170 to 173 in which the method further comprises issuing an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the top-up amount, and to credit the telephone account of the SMS originating device with the top-up amount.
175. A method as claimed in any of Claims 168 to 174 in which an SMS message is generated confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS originating device, and is transmitted to the SMS originating device.
176. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 175 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages.
177. A method as claimed in Claim 176 in which the method further comprises translating the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction.
178. A method as claimed in Claim 177 in which the method further comprises transmitting the translated SMS message to the SMS originating device.
179. A method as claimed in Claim 176 or 178 in which the SMS message is machine translated in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction.
180. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 179 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to insert particulars of the location of the SMS originating device into an SMS message and to transmit the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device to the SMS originating device.
181. A method as claimed in Claim 180 in which the method further comprises determining the location of the SMS originating device and inserting particulars of the location of the SMS originating device in the SMS message to be transmitted to the SMS originating device, and transmitting the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted therein to the SMS originating device.
182. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 181 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message.
183. A method as claimed in Claim 182 in which the method further comprises checking the spelling of the words in the SMS message and correcting misspellings, and transmitting the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS originating device.
184. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 183 in which the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message.
185. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 184 in which the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message.
186. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 185 in which the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the process required to be carried out on the SMS message or in response to the SMS message.
187. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 186 in which the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element.
188. A method as claimed in any of Claims 163 to 187 in which the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed is located after the predefined processing instruction element.
189. A method as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined identifying element is the "#" symbol.
190. A system for carrying out a process in connection with an SMS message from an SMS enabled device (an SMS originating device), the system comprising: a detecting means for detecting a predefined identifying element in the SMS message indicative of an SMS message processing requirement, an identifying means for identifying a predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message indicative of a process to be carried out in connection with the SMS message, a processing means for carrying out the process in connection with the SMS message in accordance with the predefined processing instruction element.
191. A system as claimed in Claim 190 in which the processing means is adapted for determining the identity of the SMS originating device from the SMS message.
192. A system as claimed in Claim 190 or 191 in which the predefined processing instruction element is one with a plurality of predefined processing instruction elements.
193. A system as claimed in Claim 192 in which at least one of the predefined processing instruction elements is an instruction to carry out a predetermined process in response to the SMS message.
194. A system as claimed in Claim 193 in which the processing means is adapted to generate and transmit an SMS message to the SMS originating device confirming that the predetermined process has been carried out.
195. A system as claimed in any of Claims 190 to 194 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to top-up the current credit in the telephone account of the SMS originating device.
196. A system as claimed in Claim 195 in which the processing means is adapted to determine the amount and currency by which the telephone account of the SMS originating device is to be topped up from the SMS message transmitted by the SMS originating device.
197. A system as claimed in Claim 195 or 196 in which the processing means is adapted to identify a bank account associated with the SMS originating device against which the amount of the top-up is to be debited.
198. A system as claimed in Claim 197 in which a storing means is provided for storing particulars of a plurality of bank accounts cross-referenced with respective SMS originating devices with which the bank accounts are associated.
199. A system as claimed in Claim 198 in which the processing means is adapted to obtain particulars of the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the storing means.
200. A system as claimed in any of Claims 197 to 199 in which the processing means is adapted to request a PIN number corresponding to the bank account associated with the SMS originating device from the SMS originating device.
201. A system as claimed in Claim 200 in which the processing means is adapted to validate a PIN number entered by the SMS originating device.
202. A system as claimed in any of Claims 195 to 201 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to the bank in which the bank account associated with the SMS originating device is held to debit the account associated with the SMS originating device to the amount equivalent to the top-up amount, and to issue an instruction to credit the telephone account of the SMS originating device with the top-up amount.
203. A system as claimed in any of Claims 195 to 202 in which the processing means is adapted to generate an SMS message confirming the top-up of the telephone account of the SMS originating device, and to transmit the generated SMS message to the SMS originating device.
204. A system as claimed in any of Claims 109 to 203 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to translate the SMS message from the language in which it is written into one of a predefined number of languages.
205. A system as claimed in Claim 204 in which the processing means is adapted to issue an instruction to a language translating means to translate the SMS message into the one of the predefined languages specified in the translation instruction in response to the predefined processing instruction element in the SMS message being a translation instruction.
206. A system as claimed in Claim 205 in which the processing means is adapted to transmit the translated SMS message to the SMS originating device.
207. A system as claimed in Claim 205 or 206 in which the processing means is adapted to issue the instruction to translate the SMS message to a machine translating means in response to the predefined processing instruction element being a translation instruction.
208. A system as claimed in any of Claims 190 to 207 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device and to generate an SMS message with particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted therein and to transmit the generated SMS message to the SMS originating device.
209. A system as claimed in Claim 208 in which the processing means is adapted to determine the location of the SMS originating device in response to the predefined processing instruction element being an instruction to determine the location of the SMS originating device, and to generate an SMS message with particulars of the l looccaattiioonn o off t thhee S SMMSS o orriiπgiinnaattiinnαg d deevviiccee i innsseerrtteedd t thheerreeiinn..
210. A system as claimed in Claim 209 in which the processing means is adapted to transmit the SMS message with the particulars of the location of the SMS originating device inserted therein to the SMS originating device.
211. A system as claimed in any of Claims 190 to 210 in which the predefined processing instruction element is an instruction to carry out a spell check of the SMS message and to correct any misspellings in the SMS message.
212. A system as claimed in Claim 211 in which the processing means is adapted to check the spelling of the words in the SMS message and to correct misspellings in response to the predefined processing instruction being a spell check instruction, and to transmit the SMS message with the misspellings corrected to the SMS originating device.
213. A system as claimed in any of Claims 190 to 212 in which the predefined identifying element comprises a predefined character inserted in the SMS message, and the detecting means is adapted to search for the predefined character.
214. A system as claimed in any of Claims 190 to 213 in which the predefined identifying element is inserted as the first character in the SMS message, and the detecting means is adapted to look for the predefined identifying element in the location of the first character in the SMS message.
215. A system as claimed in any of Claims 190 to 214 in which the predefined processing instruction element is a word or an abbreviated word which represents the process required to be carried out on the SMS message or in response to the SMS message, and the processing means is adapted to search for the word or the abbreviated word in the SMS message.
216. A system as claimed in any of Claims 190 to 215 in which the predefined processing instruction element is located in the SMS message immediately following the predefined identifying element, and the processing means is adapted to look for the predefined processing instruction element at the location immediately following the predefined identifying element.
217. A system as claimed in any preceding claim in which the text inserted in the SMS message to be processed is located after the predefined processing instruction element, and the processing means is adapted to search for the text to be processed in a location after the predefined processing instruction element.
218. A system as claimed in any preceding claim in which the predefined identifying element is the "#" symbol, and the processing means is adapted to search the SMS message for the "#" symbol.
PCT/IE2008/000015 2007-02-20 2008-02-20 A method and a system for processing an sms message or for carrying out a process in response to an sms message from an sms enabled device WO2008102329A3 (en)

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