Retail bank Barclays has launched a service in the UK for sending and receiving money using mobile phone numbers. The bank says this is the first such service in Europe. The Pingit service is free and is open to anyone with a UK current account and mobile number. According to the bank, the attraction of the service is that users can send and receive money by giving out their mobile numbers and not sharing account details. At launch only Barclays current account customers can use Pingit but all UK bank customers can receive payments. From early March all UK bank account holders will be able to send money via the service as well.
The service links the user’s current account with their mobile phone number. That way payments can be sent to an account without the sender needing to know more than the recipient’s mobile number. The Pingit service is accessible via an app available for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. The user sets a five-digit password to protect the app. Barclays says the target market is family and friends wanting to send money to one another as well as smaller businesses such as window cleaners or plumbers. The service offers an alternative to cash for small traders many of whom do not accept card payments.