The launch by U.K. banking giant Barclays of its "Pingit" mobile money transfer service could trigger other banks to launch m-payment services.
The new Pingit person-to-person (P2P) service enables smartphone users who have downloaded the Barclays-developed app to send and receive money free of charge to anyone with a U.K. account and U.K. mobile phone number.
The app, which is available for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, links the user's current account with his or her mobile phone number. This enables payments to be sent directly without the sender needing to know anything more than the recipient's mobile phone number, Barclays told BankTech.
Addressing likely fears over security, Sean Gilchrist, head of digital banking at Barclays, told the Daily Telegraph that the Pingit app features "industry standard encryption," and could automatically be deleted from a handset if a user tells the bank they have lost their device.
Barclays said that Pingit can only be accessed using a five-digit PIN code, and that the app had been developed with the help of its own mobile banking security experts.
Commenting on the reaction of other banks, Greenwich Consulting managing director Fred Huet told Mobile News: "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 marginalisation," added Huet.
Barclays said that Pingit is available to current account customers of all U.K. banks and building societies, not just those with Barclays accounts. However, at launch, only Barclays current account customers will be able to send money via the app, but all U.K. account holders will be able to register online to receive money.
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