University of Cincinnati students weaned on their mobile phones have a new option that allows them to shop without credit cards or wallets.

More than 30 merchants, from tattoo parlors to restaurants, have installed a system called Mocapay. It allows users to text their identification number and receive a code that they give to the merchant, with the money automatically deducted from their account. Kroger stores off Interstate 75 in St. Bernard and in University Plaza just east of UC’s campus also are installing the software.

Freshman Eileen George, of White Oak, has had Mocapay for about three weeks and uses it mostly for food. She said it’s easier than paying any other way.

“You just walk in and you can just text the number right away,” she said.

For merchants, the service could lure more customers. For Mocapay, it provides a tech-savvy target audience in the hometown of supermarket-giant Kroger Co. And for Kroger, it’s an experiment into online paying systems that could pay off nationally.

Mocapay adds another service to the UC Mobile initiative that the university rolled out this fall. About 1,800 students have signed up so far.

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