Barclays launches Pingit, free contactless payment for smartphone
22 February 2012
Barclays bank has launched Europe's first free money-sending service that allows UK current account customers to send and receive cash through their smartphones.
Barclays' 11.9 million current account customers can download the bank's Pingit app to their smartphone and start making instant free money transfers to anyone with a UK-based mobile phone and a current account with any UK bank.
The app, which will be extended to all UK banking customers by March, is completely free to use. It is aimed at an increasingly mobile-orientated public who use their phone to manage many aspects of their lives. Barclays says the service will enable users to make quick payments to each other – such as splitting a bill in a restaurant. It could also help some small traders, such as window cleaners, who need to collect payments from regular customers.
To send money via Pingit you need a smartphone handset – an iPhone, Blackberry and those using Android software; to receive payments you can use any handset. Users call the recipient's mobile number via the Pingit app, key in an amount between £1 and £300 and hit send. The money is moved between the two current accounts using the Faster Payments service, and takes as little as 30 seconds.
Barclays looks to have stolen a march on its competitors in what is expected to be the next big thing in personal finance – mobile phone-based financial payments. Last year, Visa, along with Telefonica (owner of O2) and Spanish bank La Caixa successfully trialled the use of contactless payments using the latest mobile handsets.