Barclays bank has launched a service for transferring money from customer accounts to any other account-holder in the UK, using their mobile phones.
Called Pingit, the service requires both payees and payers to download an app on their smartphone and register for the service with Barclays. It is currently restricted to UK residents.
Smartphones supported by the service at launch are iPhone, RIM, and Android devices.
The service is intended to take the place of low-value cash transactions and according to Barclays Retail and Business Banking COO Shaygan Kheradpir, is an attempt to bring ATM services into the mobile digital world.
"This is a renaissance of retail banking," he told CIO UK. "Money will be moved from one account to another in a matter of seconds. This is a cloud-based mobile peer-to-peer transfer system."
Customers must register with the service on a website, over the phone, in a branch or over one of Barclays ATM machines.
Kheradpir was not specific about how it is done, but he told CIO UK that the ATM would link with the customer's mobile to transfer data, so that the registration process can be completed.
The most likely use for the service from launch is the transfer of money between private individuals. Kheradpir used the illustration of parents sending money remotely to a child away from home while at university as a typical use for the service.
No mention has been made of any other banks or retail organizations supporting the Pingit service.
So far, this is a unilateral move by Barclays but the bank hopes that third parties will use build on the Pingit service with their own apps, which may open up the service to paying utilities or small-value purchases in stores.
UK current account holders can register for the service at www.barclays.co.uk/pingit
This story, "Barclays Tests Paypal Rival in UK" was originally published by CIO (UK).