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Barclays PingIt: UX SUX

If I give you £10 pounds, how difficult will it be for you to use it? Silly question.

If I send you £10 via PingIt, would it be even simpler to use, considering how "revolutionary and easy" Barclays promises that service to be? Not quite.

When I make a payment to someone who is not currently registered with PingIt, that person must sign up with Barclays within 24 hours or my payment is null and void (I get my money back, of course). If you are quick enough to act within 24 hours, you'll be asked to complete a form first. Then, if you are not banking with Barclays, you'll need to check your bank statement to get a verification code. You enter that code into PingIt to link it to your bank account, and you are good to go. Almost.

After you receive a payment via PingIt, the funds are not automatically sent to your bank account which you linked PingIt to. You need to manually transfer the funds from PingIt to your account, otherwise the money will sit in PingIt Wallet (i.e. at Barclays!).

Eventually, you get used to the process and things start moving smoothly. Until you hit one of the limits. Barclays only mentions "limit" in their T&C, not in "How PingIt works". Even in their T&C, Barclays is vague: "3.1 Depending on the information you provide when registering for the Service, we may require you to complete registration at a Barclays branch or to provide us with further information before you can use the Account. Sometimes we may also place limits on the amounts you can send, receive or withdraw using the Account".

"Depending on the information you provide": well, it's not that you have any choice during the registration - you only do as told and provide Barclays with the information which they ask you for.

When PingIt limits are imposed, things smell of LIBOR: you can receive up to £2,000, but you can only transfer to your account £800. Which means that unless and until you go through the trouble of getting those limits removed, Barclays will keep your £1,200. Nice one.

To remove the limits, you go to a Barclays branch where helpful but clueless staff would eventually call PingIt help line to be walked through the limit removal procedure. Oh, and you have to bring a photo ID and a proof of address, just as you would when opening a bank account. Why does Barclays need to KYC you again if you already went through that process with another UK bank when you opened your account (which Barclays confirmed to be yours during the registration process)? There is no specific legal requirement for that, as far as FSA is concerned.

If every day I were to stuff £10 into an envelope and mail it you, would Post Office at some point keep an envelope with the money until they can see your ID? Would they also play the "come and get it" game with you? No, every envelope will be brought to your door, no questions asked.

Barclays had (mostly) good intentions when launching PingIt. The service is implemented well and is useful. But PingIt user experience sucks. UX SUX.

Looks like the market is ready for a PingIt service with Square-like UX.


Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 September, 2012, 12:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'll anonymously agree.  The registration process is a huge barrier to adoption and at the end of the day, Pingit is just a customer acquisition tool for Barclays.  Still not managed (or found the need) to actually use it.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 September, 2012, 15:20Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi Alexander

You might have forgotten, but in the last screen of the registration process I´m sure you were informed of the limits that would apply to you. You were also informed about how to remove your account limits: taking a Photo ID (Passport, Driver´s License, etc.) and a Proof of Address to a Barclays branch. Moreover, you were given the option to locate the nearest Barclays branch.

Regarding the withdrawal process, I think is worth explaining all Finestra readers that, although this process is manual, takes 2 seconds, is free and immediate, so you have your money back in your non Barclays linked account in real time

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 September, 2012, 20:22Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes


Don't get me wrong, Pingit is a good application/service. Many people use it (I do) and like it (I do). My blog post was about UX.

Locking customer's funds, under any circumstances, is bad practice - it's not Barclays' money, it's mine. Asking people to jump through some hoops to get access to their own money is not nice either.

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