A "revolutionary" app enabling people to send and receive money just by using mobile phone numbers has been made available to UK consumers.

The free Barclays Pingit app allows users to send cash to anyone with a UK current account and UK mobile phone number, without having to share bank details.

Key Points

  • New app enables payments mobiles
  • Only available to Barclays current account customers
  • From March, will be rolled out to all

It is now available to download for the iPhone, iPad, Android or Blackberry.

At present, only Barclays current account holders can use it to send money, but cash can be sent to any UK current account holder, regardless of their bank or building society.

The system links the user's current account with their mobile number, so those sending cash do not need the recipient's sort code or account number, only their phone number.

Another version, aimed at all UK current account customers aged over 18, no matter who they bank with, is planned from early March. In addition, Barclays hopes to enable international payments later this year.

How does it work?

Money is sent using the Faster Payments service, which enables electronic transfers to be processed within two hours, 24/7.

Only the person sending money has to download the app. The receiver can register using the app or on the Barclays Pingit website.

Payments must range between £1 and £300. The maximum someone can receive in a day is £5,000.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays retail and business banking, says the app could "revolutionise" the way people send and receive money.

He says: "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."

Is it safe?

Barclays says transfers are as secure as any other banking transaction. The app is protected by a five-digit code set by the user.

Senders and recipients will also be notified about sent, received, pending and cancelled payments via a text from Barclays.

Rachel Springall of comparison website Moneyfacts says: "While this feature strives to be a secure service, customers need to ensure that they input the correct mobile number on outset and that they are careful when making transfers.

"It will be interesting to see how other lenders react to this release, especially since the launch of mobile banking as a whole has met many customers' day-to-day banking needs."