Barclays on Monday launched Pingit in Kenya. Pingit is a fee free person-to-person mobile app for international money transfers between UK and Africa, beginning a new era of international money transfer almost six months following its UK launch.
The Barclays Pingit app links the user’s current account with their mobile phone number, enabling payments to be sent directly to that account via the Faster Payments Scheme. Non-customers can also use Pingit as Barclays will set up a “wallet” account and payments will be made to and from that.
Pingit will allow its clients in UK to send up to £750 per day and while their counterparts in Kenya will be able to receive up to £5,000 per day.
Pingit works on Android version 2.2 and iOS 4.2 or above, and Blackberry OS 5.0 or above. The app can be used to check one’s account balance and mini-statements, transfer funds to accounts within Barclays and to accounts in other banks, pay utility water bills and order a cheque book.
The app is protected by a personal five-digit passcode and every transaction has SMS notifications. Barclays Pingit is available for Barclays Hello Money, a free mobile banking service available to 120,000 customers in Kenya.
The app is now available in Kenya and will be extended to Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Seychelles and Mauritius by the end of this year.
According to Barclays, users in the UK and Africa will be able to send and receive money across international borders instantly, securely and freely by using their mobile number.
The bank said retail customers can take advantage of wholesale currency exchange prices by linking to the banks BARX FX platform with market-leading exchange rates.
The fee free service has already achieved over one million downloads in the UK only next to The Barclays Mobile Banking app which achieved 529,000 downloads in the UK in its first month after its launch, it said.
Barclays expects the service to help people send money to their loved ones without exuberant surcharges.
In the first half of 2012, the Central Bank of Kenya recorded over Sh50bn ($600m) as Diaspora remittances from Kenyans working abroad. This is a 46.7 per cent rise over 2011’s first half.
Barclays says it first launched in Kenya as is a key market with successful adoption of mobile banking since the launch of M-Pesa in 2007 in the country. The banks mobile products are also doing well in the country, Barclays Hello Money has 120,000 customers.
According to UK’s Office of National Statistics 2009 survey, there were over 200,000 born in Kenya and living in the UK with several others related or connected or doing business in Kenya. Pingit’s launch is therefore revolutionary to cut down international money transfer fees, insecurity and delays.
Antony Jenkins, Chief Executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said in a statement: “Pingit is quick, convenient, secure and free – it has revolutionised how people send and receive money in the UK, and now has the potential to transform international payments around the world.”
Barclays operates in over 50 countries and has more than 300 years of expertise in banking. The bank is more than 95 years old in Kenya and anticipates significant demand for mobile payments across Africa.