As of March, anyone with a UK bank account from Barclays will be able to download a new application to their smartphone called Pingit.
Pingit is a new system which allows anyone who has downloaded the app to link it to their phone number and send cash – transfers up to £300 – to another person who has done the same with their account and see it transferred instantly.
This seems to be a big step forwards, but this kind of system has been seen in other countries – such as Kenya – for a few years now. In actuality, the UK and much of Europe are a long way behind in the use of this technology.
In Kenya, a similar mobile money transfer system called M-Pesa, has been in use since 2007 and is now an almost essential part of every day life for many people. It means that workers can transfer money to their families without having to travel for many days on a bus. This system also plays on the fact that most people in Africa own a mobile phone, but few actually have a bank account, meaning that banking on the move is an obvious solution for the vast majority of people.
However, with the launch of apps like Pingit and the Google Wallet, this could see a revolution in the way that people start to pay for things in the UK. It’s a simple, efficient way to manage your spending from a device that most people now know how to use with their eyes closed.
Obviously, there are security concerns with this new way of paying, much like there was in the early days of chip and pin, but the developers have made the assuring statement that it is just as safe to use as cash would be.
Although this technology is limited to Barclays customers for now, it would be safe to assume that other banks will be watching the progress of this application and producing their own alternative in the near future.
If this does happen, could you see yourself using your smartphone as a wallet and leaving your credit cards and cash at home? Do you think that this is a safe step to take in banking?