…needs a snappier name, but “…Barclays Pingit, allows current account customers to send and receive cash using their mobiles,” announces the Guardian. Given that teleportation isn’t a feature of mobile phones, cash is one thing you can’t send or receive.
You can, however, carry out relatively small-scale (up to £300), financial transactions. But is that desirable?
I’ve never lost a mobile phone, or my wallet, but the prospect of my wallet and mobe being one and the same does rather worry me, given the notorious lack of security on mobiles. Not to mention the fact that those who do lose their mobes, or drop them down the toilet (which happens a lot more than you might think reasonable), will be broke unless they also carry cash or plastic, which rather negates the point of the thing.
Not that I’m against the idea in principle, as it has the potential to make my life easier, but it would have to come with some serious security before I’d broadcast my financial details by radio which, effectively, is what a mobile phone is.
It would make life easier because the only thing I currently use cash for is taxi fare, which necessitates trips to the ATM – for everything else I use plastic.
In addition, anything that might replace the balky and slow card readers in Sainsbury’s, the customers’ side of which operates some seconds behind the cashiers’, resulting in pointless and annoying instructions to insert my PIN number, would be very welcome. I’ve been “inserting my PIN” (PIN number is tautological), since before most of them were born – I’m pretty sure I’ve got the hang of it by now.
There’s similar sloth with the auto-checkouts, which are clearly programmed for numpties, but at least that can be over-ridden to run at the speed of the customer, even if the recorded instructions are 20-30 seconds behind, still telling me to insert my card when the transaction has been completed. And perhaps a Pingit-style system would obviate the need for constant staff verification of anything from cough sweets to a bottle of scotch by proving I’m over 18!
I’m patiently waiting for the Android version, currently being trialled in Spain by Visa.
Oh, and the Barclay’s version is free to install and use – let’s hope others follow suit – it’s not as if they can’t afford it…