Barclays Pingit: Mobile Payments Finally Mainstream?

Barclays Bank has released a new app for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones which allows you to send and receive money simply by using a phone number, so without the need to share bank details.

Barclays Pingit

Barclays Pingit can currently be used by Barclays Current Account customers to transfer money to customers of any other UK bank, to a maximum of £300. Pingit uses Faster Payments, so the money should appear in the recipient account within a few seconds.

To send  cash, users must download the free app and then register their phone number with Barclays, who will first verify the account before transfers can take place. To make a payment, the user must first enter a 5-digit PIN. To receive payments you do not need the app but will need to register your phone number with Barclays.  Non-Barclays account holders can only receive payments, for the moment, but this is likely to change by early March.

Update 12th April 2012: non-Barclays account holders can now use PingIt to both send and receive payments via the app.

Barclays is pushing Pingit to both personal and business users. Business users are likely to incur charges for receiving payments, and they can also decide whether they wish to register just to receive payments, or to make and receive payments. Where this could be extremely useful is if Barclays can make mobile payments both simple and low-cost, to allow small businesses to receive payments from customers’ mobiles, doing away with the need for taking credit and debit cards (and cutting out the need for tools like Square and the soon to be lauched in the UK iZettle).

The system also doesn’t rely on NFC chips to be present in the phone, as with Google Wallet.

Whilst P2P (person to person) payments are not new, Barclays claims this is the first of its kind in Europe (although similar systems such as M-Pesa, have been in place in Africa and the Far East for a number of years), and Pingit has managed to generate a massive amount of publicity, from both tech and mainstream media, on its launch. Naturally, the focus has largely been on its security:

So does this signal mobile payments going mainstream? Well, lets wait and see how much use it gets first, although the level of interest its received suggests it could well be the start of a mobile money revolution.

Barclays Pingit

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5 thoughts on “Barclays Pingit: Mobile Payments Finally Mainstream?

  1. I tried applying today – I bank with NatWest, but it says you can use it to receive payments – however, part of the application process is entering the reference number on a 1p payment they send to your bank – in my case, this was displayed as “No Ref” so I couldn’t complete the signup!

    Not sure how I can go back to it, or If i need to start again though!

  2. Seems to me like the payment app/scanner combo is the ideal solution. Every smartphone already has the hardware to send the data: a screen. All retailers need to do is buy a scanner that can be programmed to work with various payment options and they’re good to go. I could buy coffee with my Starbucks app (and Starbucks gets customer loyalty data), my Visa app (and I’d get cashback rewards), my Bank of England app (if I wanted it to come out of my checking account) or my PayPal app (er, not sure why I’d choose this option, but it’s there if I wanted it).

  3. These payment app’s are definitely the way to go, I use them all the time and find it easier to pay a lot of things, no mad dashes to the cash machine, you know you have instant access to money when you need it especially when your out travelling.

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