The Changing Face of Mobile Payments
by Mike Walters, Head of UK Corporate Payments, Barclays
As mobile payments become more widespread among consumers, corporates face a growing need to interact with their customers in new ways across the payment and purchasing cycle. Established solutions like Barclays Pingit for corporates are helping companies to pioneer m-commerce in innovative ways, and create revenue opportunities.
The growing prevalence of smartphones and other mobile devices is driving a rapid shift in the consumer payments landscape. As mobile technology becomes more widespread, the way in which consumers manage their banking and payment activities is also evolving. For example, as consumers become more accustomed to mobile banking services, they are adopting this technology for a growing range of activities, from reimbursing friends to paying businesses for goods and services. This area is developing swiftly: Gartner predicts that by 2016, the value of mobile payments will reach $617bn globally, up from around $170bn in 2012.
This shift in consumer behaviour is also driving changes in the corporate world. Consumers are increasingly demanding the convenience of ‘on the go’ payments: anywhere and at any time. Corporates with large retail customer bases therefore need to consider how they interact with their customers and take advantage of m-commerce opportunities.
Overcoming corporate challenges
Constraints on consumers’ disposable income and a highly competitive landscape create considerable challenges for B2C corporations. The need to drive costs down and revenues up, while providing customers with a simple and attractive purchasing environment, has never been greater.
At the same time, evolving consumer payment behaviour is creating new challenges for corporates in terms of how they interact with their customers. Consumers increasingly expect fund transfers to take place immediately and are looking to access detailed information about how much they are spending and what they are spending it on.
Corporates therefore need to revisit the ways in which customers are billed and payments collected. This is not simply to keep up with consumer demand. The evolution of mobile technology provides new opportunities for competitive advantage by interacting with consumers in a variety of new ways, from static advertising to bill payment.
Barclays Pingit for corporates
Since February 2012, Barclays has been pioneering mobile payments in the UK with its unique Barclays Pingit solution. The Barclays Pingit app was launched to enable individuals to send and receive money using mobile phone numbers without the need to exchange account details. Users input a five digit PIN through a secure app, which then allows them pay up to ￡1,500 and receive ￡5,000 each day to or from other individuals. The service already has a large consumer base and is revolutionising the way that individuals pay each other, whether or not they are a Barclays customers. To date, Barclays Pingit has been downloaded 1.7 million times and has been used to make payments totalling over ￡130m.
Barclays Pingit is not just a consumer application. Also launched last year, Barclays Pingit for corporates offers a higher transaction limit and comes with exciting new functionality to provide new opportunities for companies to interact with their customers.
Fundamentals of Barclays Pingit for corporates
Instead of using a mobile phone number to make a payment to an individual, users can search for and select the name of a company they wish to pay. The company then receives payment instantaneously, enabling immediate order processing and/or posting to a customer account. Corporates using Barclays Pingit need to hold a bank account with Barclays, to which payments are credited immediately following customer confirmation. However, customers themselves do not need to hold an account with the bank, which means the service is available to any person in the UK with a UK bank account.
Barclays Pingit for corporates has been live since May 2012 and is already providing a powerful means of collecting money from customers. Functionality introduced more recently opens up additional sales channels, supports unprecedented marketing intelligence resources and streamlines payments from corporates to their customers.
Barclays Pingit is QR code-enabled, which brings a variety of benefits to both payer and payee. When paying a bill, users can scan a QR code on a bill or invoice using the Barclays Pingit app on their phone, which then loads the payer’s details while automatically completing any reference information, such as the customer’s account number. This is convenient for customers, as they need only to input their PIN and confirm the payment. Meanwhile, the company receives funds immediately and can automatically reconcile collections using the reference information collected by the app. Payments are instant and irrevocable, reducing costs and supporting corporates’ working capital objectives.
Severn Trent Water was the first utilities company in the UK to leverage this opportunity, and is already adding Barclays Pingit QR codes to its bills. As Angela Hunter-Dobson, Director of Customer Services for Severn Trent, explains:
“Easy access to multiple channels that are effortless to use is a non-negotiable requirement for today’s consumer. In deploying Barclays Pingit, we are offering greater choice by introducing an innovative yet straightforward payment facility to our increasingly mobile customer base.”