Barclays has added ‘mobile checkout' and ‘buy it' features to its Pingit payment services, hoping to make it quicker and easier for businesses to monopolise the growing mobile payments market.
The new checkout service is designed to help businesses integrate Pingit payment options into their existing mobile applications and websites.
Barclays head of UK corporate payments, Mike Walters, said the new feature will help radically increase business revenue streams by reducing the amount of information potential customers have to enter when attempting to buy something using their smartphone or tablet.
"The drop-off rate of customers constructing a basket of goods and then actually paying [when in an app or mobile web site] is about 68 percent. That means the corporate has done all the hard work and at the point of sale the customer has walked away. There are variety of reasons for this, but a big one is the vast amounts of data the customer has to key into their handset," he said.
"For us what mobile checkout does is it allows us to link with that app or mobile web page provided by the corporate customer to do a six-click checkout in our secure environment. There is no input of information, there is ‘I want to pay in this way' [with Pingit] and ‘here's my five-digit security code'."
The new buy it service is a new QR code-based solution that lets Pingit uses buy items by scanning codes. "[Buy it] converts every bit of hard media the corporate has and can advertise on, whether that is posters, flyers, leaflets, or even a TV screen or web page, into a sales channel," Walters explained.
"It does that by allowing the consumer to buy what they're looking at. In the same way they're able to make bill payments, they just scan a code. In real time we will complete the order and pass the information on to our corporate customer.
Walters said Barclays expects the new services to radically increase the already booming mobile payments market in the UK. "For us we view it that around 51 percent are using smartphones and if you think about the amount of potential spending capability that represents in the UK that's enormous," he explained.
"The numbers are pretty staggering, 55 percent forecast in mobile growth and purchasing up to 2016 and if I had to bet I'd say that's undercooked and it will go up faster than that. But if you compare that to where a retailer is traditionally focused, their online sales growing at eight percent, their face-to-face at just a tad under 2.6 percent, it's clear if they're trying to grow their revenue line as a business they have to be focusing their interest in a space that is essentially an opportunity for new growth."
Walters added that there are a wealth of branding benefits for early adopters of services like Pingit. "This has given businesses some kudos in their sectors as forward thinkers and innovators, it's given them some street cred," he said.
"It's making the point they can, should and could differentiate. We're looking at this as we have a big small business focus, a big corporate franchise focus, we're the only bank in the UK that covers all these areas. That means we look at every type of sector that exists."
Walters told V3 the Pingit app will also now offer corporate customers restricted metadata features, letting them see things like which advert or flyer accrued the most sales. He added the data will be anonymised and the company does not collect key pieces of metadata, like the user's location, as many companies like Google do.
The Pingit app is available now on Google's Android Play Store, the Apple App Store and BlackBerry Marketplace. The app is yet to arrive on Microsoft Windows Phone. A Barclays representative told V3 the company is still gauging whether there is adequate demand for the app among Windows Phone users to justify releasing it.
Barclays is one of many companies looking to take advantage of the growth in UK mobile payments. Payment provider Visa has listed the UK as a key region that will help it break the 50 million contactless payments per month across Europe milestone by the end of 2013.
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