Barclays Adds Checkout and QR Code Purchasing to Pingit

Barclays has added another two services to its Pingit wallet – already downloaded by 1.8m Barclays and non-Barclays customers alike – adding a mobile checkout and a ‘buy it’ function.

‘Buy it’ uses QR codes to enable users to purchase from any corporate ad material, even paused live TV, with back-end integration between Barclays and its clients to facilitate the order. As the codes are uniquely linked to the different marketing materials, Barclays’ clients will benefit from analytics that show which ads are performing the best.

“There’s no point where they can drop off if they’ve decided to make the purchase so it’s great for spontaneous payments,” said Mike Walters, head of corporate payments at Barclays. “We use QR codes because they’re cheap to produce and corporates understand them.” Another QR code service, Barclays ‘pay now’ for paying bills, was quietly launched in the Pingit app in May 2012, enabling users to scan a code to settle a bill or invoice. It is already being used by Severn Trent water.

Mobile checkout

Citing a 68 per cent drop-off rate during the journey to purchase, Walters also unveiled the new mobile checkout function, giving users the opportunity to ‘pay with Pingit’ in an app or on the mobile web in just six clicks.

“It’s very hard to be one-click unless you own all infrastructure around it,” Walters said. “It’s very difficult to compete with Amazon.” When it comes to mobile payments, he said, consumers actually prefer familiarity over security. ‘Buy it now’ takes users into Barclays secure app, where they can use the same pin and have the same experience as when they’re making a peer-to-peer payments.

Mobile banking rules

Barclays customers are now three times more likely to use the Pingit app than go online and six times more likely to bank on their mobile than go into a branch, Walters explained: “We have to understand that consumers want to transact where they are – not where someone else chooses to put them.”

Users send an average of £75 peer-to-peer, “considerably more than we thought they would. And there are not a lot of services that the £15,000 transaction limit puts out of reach,” Walters said. But these two additions to the app, which has already had 13 updates since in launched in February last year, are more than just consumer tools.

Strategic tech

“Payments are a strategic technology for us. Corporates are wrestling with the whole dynamic of speed, delivering a good service but also managing money and reconciliation of payments. Putting a cheque in the post doesn’t cut it anymore. They are now willing to use mobile as a differentiator.”

Unlike the customer-facing services, corporates have to be a Barclays customer to use them. Walters said he couldn’t reveal how many non-Barclays corporate customers had already been tempted by its growing range of payment solutions, but pointed to the fact that 13 per cent of Pingit users are not the bank’s customers. “Severn Trent didn’t bank with us,” he added.

Walters would not reveal how much the corporates will pay for each completed transaction but said that the large volumes of payments mean that Barclays could beat any competitors. He pointed to a partnership with Plymouth University as a particularly exciting project – a closed test site where every type of Pingit payment can be used, among an audience with high smartphone penetration.

Future of national payments council

The UKs Payments Council, of which Barclays is a member, is testing a range of app payment solutions which are yet to come to market. “But the questions will still be: whose app do we choose and what functionality does that app provide?” Walters said. “When the scheme finally arrives, there won’t be anything as well adopted as Pingit offering peer-to-peer, mobile checkout and QR code payments.”


David Murphy spoke to Milon Veasey, head of mobile solutions at Barclays, about these additions to Pingit. You can watch the video interview below.