Barclays bank has launched an application that will enable mobile phone users to make free payments to other UK mobile users directly.
The move follows the bank’s work on a private cloud that will underpin the app as well as a raft of cloud-based mobile banking services that are set to follow.
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Shaygan Kheradpir, COO for Barclays' retail and business banking, said this is the first in a series of mobile developments that will sit on a “mobile money platform.”
The private cloud means that rather than using a website that sits on top of core IT infrastructure to enable mobile payments, the Pingit app plugs directly into it. “This is built in a secure private cloud rather than an over-the-top application,” said Kheradpir.
Barclays Pingit application which was developed internally by Barclays, is available on Apple, Android and Blackberry operating systems.
Initially Barclays current account holders will be able to make payments worth between £1 and £300 to people in their mobile contact list and all current account holders in the UK can register to receive payments. But within weeks any UK current account holder regardless of their bank will be able to register.
The app links a bank account with a mobile number and means users can pay someone that is registered to receive payments from their phone without the need to share bank account numbers. It will be sent from registered mobile number to registered mobile number.
Users can just click on a contact and go through a simple process of sending money. They will receive confirmation which they will approve as will the receiver.
The service will use the Faster Payments system which clears most payments within seconds and authentication will come in the form of a user generated five-digit passcode.
Asked what was in it for Barclays by opening the app up to customers of all banks Kheradpir, who was previously CIO and CTO at communications provider Verizon said: “We want to get the show on the road for cloud-based mobile money.”
“We have a very extensive roadmap for the rest of the year."
He described the proliferation of mobile devices as the instigator of “a renaissance of retail banking in the 21st century.” Gartner this week reported that 149 million smartphones were sold globally in the last three months of 2011 - over 47% higher than the same period a year ago.
Kheradpir is credited as being one of the first proponents of the consumerisation of IT.
Pingit can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Blackberry App World and Android Market.