Mobile payments is an area of much debate. It’s obviously the way of the future to be able to send funds over and between mobile phones but there ae enormous issues of security and, probably more importantly, customer trust to overcome.
Nonetheless, Barclays has thrown caution - your caution - to the wind with the launch of an app and a service that will do just that in today’s App of the Day on Pocket-lint.
You don’t have to be a Barclays customer to use Pingit but, as the phrase on the nauseating team-building shirts goes, it helps. Pingit is a pretty clever way of sending money to another person simply by sending them a text message - more or less. If you want to send cash to anyone with a UK number, then you’ll need a Barclays account and the relevant app for your relevant mobile phone. You don’t have to have either to receive the funds.
When you set up the service as the sender, it’s a fairly involved process of six-figure passcodes, full bank account details and verification numbers via either the Barclays Pin-Sentry device or the slightly more painful routes of in-branch or at a cash machine (don’t forget to cover the screen). What that does inspire, however, is a measure of safety which is good because the rules of the game state that Barclays is not prepared to take any responsibility if you send your money to the wrong person - and that’s quite easy to do. A missed digit and you’ll make someone’s day.
The story at the other end is that you’ll receive an SMS saying that someone wants to give you some cash. If you’re not already registered with Pingit, then you will have to do so within 24 hours or the payment will be cancelled. You don’t need the app but, again, it helps. You can register online at www.barclays.co.uk/pingit.
Once you’re set up, you can send up to £300 per day in amounts anywhere between £1 and the full dose. You can receive up to £5,000 in the same time period. We know which we’d rather do.
Of course, the real down side of this - apart from the accidental sending of cash to a stranger - is Pingit does mean sharing yours and your recipient’s mobile phone number with Barlclays which then has the right to do all sorts of unspeakable marketing pitches with it and it’s very, very, very difficult to opt out of. In fact, you’ll have to write them a letter. And post it. Seriously.
Warnings aside, it seems to work very well and it’s actually quite fun although we’re pretty sure that the novelty will wear off quickly. Pitched as an easy way to split bills and sort out the odd friendly bit of I owe you this, that and the other, it does the trick very nicely indeed. It's also a nice way to check your bank balance very quickly. Just watch those digits, ok?