Barclays Bank has announced the launch of a new smartphone application that allows iPhone, Android and BlackBerry users to transfer money using just a mobile number in the latest development in the mobile payment market.
The service, called Pingit, will at first only be available to Barclays' current account customers but the firm said a second version of the application to be launched in March will allow customers with any bank to use the service.
The bank said the service will be free for all users and works by linking a phone number to a current account, with the security of the application provided by a five-digit pin that users enter before making a payment.
The minimum payment that can be made is £1, up to a maximum of £300, and there is a £300 total daily send limit and a £5,000 total daily receive limit.
Barclays retail and business banking chief executive, Antony Jenkins, said the service could "revolutionise the way people send and receive money" and by making it available to all bank customers it would lead to numerous benefits.
"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," he said.
"But it is not just Barclays customers who benefit as it's available to current account customers of all the other UK banks too."
Below: A minimum of £1 and a maximum of £300 can be sent over the service
The managing director of analyst firm Greenwich Consulting said that the announcement was not a huge surprise as development on such tools has been going for some time.
"The industry has been talking mobile money for years but, now that we're seeing the first, mass consumer appeal mobile money solutions, the shift towards mobile phone payments can only be expected to accelerate in the coming months," he said.
"Barclays is ahead of the curve currently [...] however, it will be interesting to see how quickly, or indeed if customers take this up consistently for larger payments, rather than just for the occasional split bill."
He added that the possibility for SMEs to use such systems could have a big impact too.
"Equally interesting is whether smaller merchants will adopt this for large payments, which would have bigger implications for the industry," he said.
The Barclays Pingit app can be downloaded for free now from the Apple App Store, BlackBerry App World and Android Market. It works with Android 2.2 and above, iOS 4.2 and above, and Blackberry OS 4.6 and above.
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