Barclays: Tapping the Power of Social Media
Until the recent LIBOR rate-setting scandal tarnished its image, the spotlight on Barclays Bank was glowing brightly -- thanks in large part to several innovative and market-leading payments initiatives supported with savvy use of social media. Earlier this year the London-based bank launched Pingit, Europe's first person-to-person mobile app, which allows anyone with a U.K. bank account and U.K. mobile phone number to receive and send money free of cost without the need to share bank details. Through aggressive and creative marketing, much of it via social media, Pingit generated 120,000 downloads in its first five days and more than 700,000 by mid-May, according to Barclays. This rapid adoption led Apple to highlight Pingit as a showcase app.
Meanwhile, Barclays' Barclaycard US payments operation this past spring entered the U.S. card market with the Barlclaycard Ring, a MasterCard-affiliated credit card designed and built using community crowdsourcing. Barclays collected information about which features the card should have via Twitter, Facebook and Google+, in addition to through its own dedicated website. Paul Wilmore, managing director of consumer markets for Barclaycard US, told BS&T he expects cardholders of the Barclaycard Ring to be similar to shareholders who will be able to weigh in on future matters relating to the card. These ventures suggest payments can be more than a commodity business through social media-supported community building. --Katherine Burger