PayPal Inc. announced the introduction Monday of PayPal SMS Security Key, which transmits a passcode to customers' mobile phones using the short message service for text when they log on to the payment service's Web site.

PayPal, the online, person-to-person, payment processing unit of the online auctioneer eBay Inc. in San Jose said the service delivers a unique six-digit security code via text message to customers' mobile phones when they request it to log in to their accounts.

The text service uses the same security infrastructure as the existing PayPal Security Key, a $5 electronic token that generates a unique security code roughly every 30 seconds. The number generation is driven by an algorithm that is also synchronized on PayPal's server computers.

The PayPal Security Key is part of the VeriSign Identity Protection Network, which lets consumers use the security codes on a variety of financial services and e-commerce Web sites like eBay. The new text messaging functionality is provided by the Messaging and Mobile Media Division of VeriSign Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., a provider of Internet security and transaction services.

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