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Barclays brings P2P payments to Britain with Pingit app

Barclay’s new Pingit mobile application is intended to simplify how individuals exchange money by enabling users to send and receive currency directly from their smartphone.

Pingit is the first person-to-person mobile banking app in Europe, according to the financial services company. It enables anyone with a bank account in Britain and a mobile phone number to send money as easily as they send a text message.

“This is about recognizing how all of our lives are changing every single day; recognizing that the pace of that change is getting ever quicker,” said Dan Wass, current accounts director at Barclays PLC, London, during a conference to announce the new service. “And the real importance of giving customers maximum choice in how they do their banking.

“This is about delivering new services that will make customers lives much much easier and help them manage their money better every single day,” he said.

Paying for dinner
The service is free and the app is available to download for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices.

At launch, only Barclays current account customers will be able to send money via the app. However, anyone with a bank account and a smartphone or feature phone will be able to register online to receive money.

By early March, Barclays expects to update the app to enable all British bank account holders to be able to send money.

The service links the user’s bank account with their mobile phone number. This enables payments to be sent directly to that account without the sender knowing the recipient’s bank account details.

For security purposes, the app requires users to enter a five-digit security code before they can use it.

Barclays expects the app to be used by consumers interested in sending money to a family or friend, to pay their portion of a bill when dining out with friends and to pay small businesses such as window cleaners or plumbers.

After downloading and opening the app, users are prompted to enter their five-digit passcode. From here, they can tap the make a payment icon at the bottom of the screen, enter the full British phone number for the intended recipient or tap a button at the top of the screen to choose a recipient from their contact list.

Pocket bank
Users also have the option of adding a message of up to 30 characters. They then enter the amount of the transfer and tap ok to confirm.

The recipient will see a SMS text message indicating that a transfer has been made. Recipients who are not registered users will receive a message telling them they have 24 hours to register in order to receive the transfer.

Additionally, consumers also receive a message confirming that the payment has been sent.

The app lets consumers find the nearest Barclays ATM, check the balance for a Barclay’s account, see recent transactions, change a passcode and call the help desk.

“It really is like having a bank in your pocket at all times,” Mr. Wass said.“It will transform the way that you send and receive money.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York