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Barclays Introduces Mobile Money Transfer Product

Pingit will allow any U.K. resident with a bank account to send and receive money via a mobile phone number, experts stress that security implications need to be considered with such products.

Barclays announced today it is rolling out a new person-to-person mobile service called Pingit. Pingit allows users to receive and send money free of cost to anyone with a U.K. account and U.K. mobile phone number, without the need to share bank details.

Pingit links the user's current account with their mobile phone number. This enables payments to be sent directly without the sender needing to know anything more than the recipient's mobile phone number, Barclays said. To send money, customers can use the free Barclays Pingit app available on iOS, Android and BlackBerry. The app will be available to all by early March.

According to Barclays, the service will be available to current account customers of all U.K. banks and building societies, not just those with Barclays accounts. At launch, only Barclays current account customers will be able to send money via the app, but all U.K. account holders will be able to register online to receive money.

Pat Carroll, CEO of U.K.-based transaction verification provider ValidSoft, said the launch of Pingit is, "a very positive step forward in the development of mobile money," but that security is of the utmost important with products such as this.

"One only needs to look at high profile incidents over the past month to realize that entrants into the mobile payments space must be sure that all necessary security safeguards are in place," he added. "For example, the move to EMV reduced card fraud, but it's well known that criminals just move on to the next weakest area. In mobile money, that means the manipulation of both the sending and receiving of cash."

Carroll explained one example of this is a tactic known as as "sim swap" -- a technique whereby fraudsters can divert calls or actions made via phone away from the number they are intended to reach and towards a different number for their own gain.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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