Like MSE Guy, I’m also a proud season ticket holder at a football club. Unlike his costly Arsenal habit, though, I’m usually to be found down at The Valley. For almost a sixth of the price of his ticket, I’ve seen Charlton Athletic win the League One championship. Bargain.
I live just around the corner from the ground, so when there’s a group of us wanting to go to an away match, it’s usually me who gets the tickets. So I’m often waiting to pick up small amounts of cash for the tickets.
Which is why the launch of Barclays Pingit caught my eye. The new app allows you to transfer cash between bank accounts simply by using phone numbers. It’s not the only one on the market – you can now brandish an O2 Wallet as well. But the beauty of the Barclays service is that it’s free, no matter who you bank with.
Sounds simple? It certainly did to me. Getting ticket money off my pals could be much more simple in future on my iPhone. Signing up, though, wasn’t such a smooth process.
To sign up to receive money, you have to fill in details of your bank account online. Barclays sends you a penny by Faster Payments to test it’s worked – and asks you to report back the reference number which appears on your online banking statement.
Here’s the slight flaw in the plan. I’m a Nationwide customer, and its online banking only allows you to see brief details of what’s gone in or out of your account that day. Sign in, and you’re presented with a summary of your new transactions – the full statement is usually a day out of date.
So, rather than seeing “PINGIT 123456”, all I saw was "bank credit" for my penny from Barclays. I had to wait a day to see what my code was, and to be able to complete signing into Pingit.
Once I finally managed to sign in, a day later, it worked like a beauty. A friend who’d already signed up tried it, and within seconds, a text told me £17 of "Preston money" was in my account. An away match debt settled in seconds. Brilliant. I was impressed.
Now try to send money. Grrr!
However, signing up to actually send money is proving an even more drawn-out process. It also involved Barclays sending a penny to my Nationwide account, and asking me to submit a code from my statement.
I’d started the process at 8.30pm on a Wednesday evening. So once again, I couldn’t get to see my code on the Nationwide website, and because I’d asked for a code in the middle of the evening, it didn’t appear until Friday morning, by which time the code had expired.
Still, Barclays let me keep the penny. Can’t complain about that.
But now I’m waiting again. I finally managed to get a code from my Nationwide statement on Tuesday, but Barclays needs to send a further code for me by post.
As of Friday morning, it hadn’t appeared. The Pingit app, with its jaunty little "ping!" jingle, is sat on my phone, but without this bit of paper, I can’t use it.
Obviously, Barclays has to protect itself against fraud. As I’m not a customer, it doesn’t owe me any favours. But it’s a little frustrating to be kept sitting around waiting around to benefit from its shiny new system.
It’s also downright irritating that Nationwide’s systems aren’t set up to cope with authorisation schemes such as the Barclays penny-for-a-code system.
Apps such as Barclays Pingit will get more and more common, and will make our lives so much easier. But don’t expect the revolution to come to your phone straight away.
Have you signed up for Barclays Pingit or O2 Wallet? How have you found them? Share your experiences below, or in the MSE Forum.