Mobiles to replace credit cards? Barclays app lets users transfer money by smartphones

17/02/2012

Barclays has launched an app that lets users transfer money via their mobile phone. The service is available for free to any current account holder in the UK, not just Barclays' customers. Users can send money between bank accounts, without sharing bank details, in a similar way as a text message with just a mobile phone number.

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So far, only Barclays' customers will be able to send money with the app but anyone can sign up online to receive payments.

The free Pingit app will be made available to everyone next month and support IOS, Android and Blackberry phones.

Transaction minimum and maximum amounts are set at £1 and £300, respectively. Users will only be able to send up to £300 in one day and receive up to £5,000.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays retail and business banking said: "Barclays Pingit could revolutionise the way people send and receive money. 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."

Barclays said that cash is sent via the Faster Payments service and is just as safe as any other banking transaction. The app is protected by a five-digit PIN code that's set by the user.

Following approval by the UK Payments Council, the technique may be picked up by more banks.

Barclays looks to have beaten rivals 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.

Residents of Sitges, near Barcelona, were given Samsung smartphones fitted with special sim cards and embedded bank cards which allowed them to make contactless payments at local businesses.The service is expected to be soon rolled out to a wider audience.

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