UK BANK Barclays has launched its Pingit app and service for transferring money via mobile phone numbers.
The service is available for free to any current account holder in the UK, not just Barclays' customers. Users can send money between bank accounts, without sharing bank details, in a similar way as a text message with just a mobile phone number.
Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays retail and business banking said, "Barclays Pingit could revolutionise the way people send and receive money. For friends splitting the cost of dinner, repaying a borrowed £10 or people sending money to a son or daughter at university, it's free, quick, convenient, secure, and easy to use. You can send and receive money in seconds, without having to enter account details."
Barclays is touting Pingit as the "first service for sending money by mobile phone number".
So far, only Barclays' customers will be able to send money with the app but anyone can sign up online to receive payments. The free Pingit app will be made available to everyone next month and supports IOS, Android and Blackberry phones.
Transaction minimum and maximum amounts are set at £1 and £300, respectively. Users will only be able to send up to £300 in one day and receive up to £5,000.
The firm said that cash is sent via the Faster Payments service and is just as safe as any other banking transaction. The app is protected by a five-digit PIN code that's set by the user.
However, David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab thinks that Pingit will provoke an attack on the system.
"At the moment, apps like this seem cutting-edge, but so too did online banking ten years ago. And the more we engage in activities that involve money, or access to confidential data, the more attractive our smartphones become to cybercriminals. I'm sure it will not be long before we see attempts to find flaws in this particular system, although clearly the PIN, and the other account and identify verification mechanisms used when installing Pingit, are designed to secure these transactions," said Emm. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ