Cashless mobile payments about to go mainstream

Earlier this month,Barclays released its new Pingit app – which it says allows account holders to transfer money to other consumers via their mobile (up to a value of £300 a day).

Unlike traditional money transfer services, however, Pingit does not require sort codes or account numbers; individuals simply enter the mobile phone number of the person to whom they wish to make a payment and funds are transferred instantly. And while, at present, only Barclays customers can use the app, the bank says it has plans for a much wider roll-out of the service.

To date, one of the biggest barriers in this area has been security – large numbers simply haven’t believed that mobiles are a safe way to conduct financial transactions. At the start of the 10s, for example, only 20% thought they were as reliable as computers (although this climbed to 30% among the young). Barclays, however, has paid considerable attention to this – claiming its registration process is “watertight” and that all traces of the app can be removed remotely should the handset be lost or stolen.

In combination with its obvious convenience credentials, Pingit can be expected to seriously boost the appeal of mobile payments and 2012 is likely to be the year when the notion becomes much more mainstream. And while we might expect it to be embraced most enthusiastically for small-ticket items, over time many are bound to become more open to the idea of paying for more expensive items in this manner.

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