With the Mobile World Congress just a week away Barclays bank has launched Europe’s first mobile money-sending service enabling their UK current account holders to send and receive cash through their mobile phones.

After downloading the bank’s Pingit app to their smartphones, Barclays’ customers can start making instant money transfers to anyone with a UK-based mobile phone and current account. To use the system to send money all you need is a smartphone handset such as an iPhone, Blackberry or one using Android software. Users call the recipient’s mobile number via the Pingit app, key in an amount between £1 and £300 and then hit send. The money transfer normally takes anything up to 30 seconds.

Barclays claims the service will enable people to make quick payments to each other – such as splitting a restaurant bill or paying small traders for continual work, such as window cleaners.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive, Barclays retail and business banking said the app would ‘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.”

At present the app is only available for Barclays customers, but will be extended to all UK banking customers by early March. It is expected that other banks will follow suit in the near future with mobile phone-based financial payments being seen as the next big thing in smartphone apps.

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