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Barclays launches mobile money transfer service in UK

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Barclays bank jumped aboard the mobile money bandwagon this week with a person-to-person service for sending and receiving money using mobile phone numbers. The service, called Pingit, allows users to transfer money, for free, to anyone with a UK current account and UK mobile phone number, with no need to share bank details.

The Barclays Pingit app is downloadable on iOS, Android and Blackberry platforms, and will initially only be available to Barclays current account holders. However, in a bid to make it attractive to the broad market it will be made available to customers of all UK banks and building societies by early March.

The service links the user’s current account with the user’s mobile phone number, enabling payments to be sent directly to that account without the sender needing to know anything more than the recipient’s mobile phone number.

To send money, customers can use the free app or they can register online to receive payments. Transfers are as safe as any other banking transaction, said Barclays, and the app is protected by a five-digit passcode, set by the user.

“For friends splitting the cost of dinner, repaying a borrowed £10 or people sending money to a son or daughter at university, it’s free, quick, convenient, secure, and easy to use. You can send and receive money in seconds, without having to enter account details,” said Antony Jenkins, chief executive at Barclays retail and business banking.

According to Fred Huet, MD of Greenwich Consulting, this is the first time we are seeing a mobile money solution with mass consumer appeal.

“Barclays is ahead of the curve currently but brands generally look set to dominate the space. Once the appetite for these technologies are proven, brands and retailers will act swiftly to position themselves in this emerging ecosystem but operators need to embed themselves in the transaction process and own the customer relationship to defend against further marginilisation,” he said.

“However, it will be interesting to see how quickly, or indeed if customers take this up consistently for larger payments, rather than just for the occasional split bill. Equally interesting is whether smaller merchants will adopt this for large payments, which would have bigger implications for the industry.”

He added that this type of contactless payment is already being adopted in other countries, such as Japan, where mobile wallets are already in use in over 300,000 retail outlets.

“The UK still has a lot of catching up to do, and making the concept accepted by the majority is key – moves like today’s from household names such as Barclays will go a long way to will go a long way to encouraging this and will give operators a good chance to build revenues and loyalty in an increasingly commoditised landscape.”

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2 comments

  1. Sparkrow 17/02/2012 @ 11:38 pm

    This is an absolute joke !!!! They have had this service in Kenya, East Africa for abot 4-5 years via the telphone company Safaricom. We in the UK are behind a so called 3rd world country.?????

    • km 12/06/2012 @ 1:03 pm

      I see your point, but surely one of the main issues here in UK (of being behind) is of trust, plus the fact that PC/laptop users are ‘entrenched’ in using older methods of e-commerce. Plus in Africa (I guess) mobile use is more prevalent due to the raging mobile market.

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