Barclays has announced that its mobile Pingit service has been expanded to sync with its payment systems so businesses can send individuals cash payments via their mobile number.
Barclays said this would help firms cut down on the amount of personal financial details they have to store for payments and reduce paper by saving on invoices and cheque production. The bank said the insurance, retail and utility industries could all benefit from the new service.
It will work by syncing with Barclays' File Gateway channel that is used by businesses to request payments. Now firms can request that payments be made from this system to Pingit users.
Payments from Pingit work with any mobile number regardless of which bank the customer is with, and non-Pingit registered users are notified of a waiting payment by a text that includes instructions on how to access the service.
Mike Walters, head of UK Corporate Payments at Barclays, told V3 that the firm was hoping to solve a lot of “pain points” for corporate customers with the introduction of the service.
“For a lot of firms the only way they have of sending money to a customer is through a cheque, and that usually takes around a week to be paid or they have to request, and then store, customers’ bank details,” he explained.
“Our thought process was that it is not any more complex when generating a payment file to ask that the money is sent to a mobile phone number. This is also a much more efficient way of processing a payment as it is much quicker,” he said.
If a company requests this form of payment Barclays can cross-reference their records to see if the number given for a customers is the same as the one they have on file. The money can then be paid to the customer, or a text will inform them that if they download Pingit the payment can be processed. Customers can, however, refuse the Pingit payment and request a traditional payment if they wish.
Walters acknowledged that it would take time for some people to trust that handing over a phone number would result in a payment from a company, but he said the growing uptake of mobile payment services would help make more people aware of the service.
One firm that is already using Pingit in this way is CEGA, a provider of travel risk management and medical assistance. Its financial director Warwick Hoddy said the service was already proving beneficial.
“It offers our customers a faster alternative to BACS payments, minimises the need to share personal information and satisfies the increasing desire to interact by mobile phone,” he said.
To date over £10bn has been sent and received over mobile payment services run by Barclays, including Pingit, as the service proves a hit with users. Windows Phone customers should receive the service soon, although it is still not yet available.
Walters confirmed it was still being worked on but did not provide any timeframes for its launch.
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