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Barclays to shut down Pingit on 30 June

Barclays to shut down Pingit on 30 June

Barclays Bank has confirmed the closure of mobile P2P payments app Pingit, almost ten years after its pioneering launch in 2012.

Rumours of the demise of Pingit have been circling for some time, with the UK bank failing to capitalise on its early innovation.

Barclays last big push on the app came in 2019, when it moved its bpay wearable brand to Pingit and introduced a slew of new features in a last gasp attempt to keep up with innovations from Big Tech giants and fintech startups in the money transfer space.

Barclays has writen to customers confirming the closure of Pingit from 30 June, when users will no longer be able to use the app to send, receive or make payments. Customer cash stored in Pingit savings jars will be transferred back to linked accounts and users of Pingit wearables will be entitled to a refund for the price of the payments fob.

Comments: (9)

David Gyori
David Gyori - BANKING REPORTS, LONDON - London 13 April, 2021, 11:02Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Why did Barclays fail with this effort? What is in the essence of this story of Pingit? I think Pingit was a great innovation. What happened? Who knows the answer?


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 13 April, 2021, 14:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Is Pingit a competitor to payment services like Zelle? What is the reason for the close down despite being successful

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 13 April, 2021, 18:061 like 1 like

There are many reasons and they aren't for a public forum! 

Julian Wilson
Julian Wilson - FreedomPay - London 13 April, 2021, 22:392 likes 2 likes

I worked at Barclays during the time when Pingit was launched and up to and beyond the point when Open Banking was introduced.  These opinions are personal and are not necessarily representative of the Barclays position or motivations.

Pingit effected bank to bank transfers using a mobile phone number as a proxy for a sort code and bank account number.  Underpinniing this 'feature' was a bank to bank transfer via Vocalink's Faster Payments network.

This is the same process Open Banking payments follow today.  Like all payment services / instruments in order to work commercially they need critical mass of both buyers and sellers [points of acceptance]. 

My guess would be that Barclays could justify this decision for several reasons:  its mobile banking platform and Bpay provide similar functionality,  the proliferation of Open Banking services and the scope of companies driving adoption [distributes the cost of creating acceptance], or maybe the possible lack of differentiation.

The future?

Open Banking and Open Finance in combination with the capabilities of the crypto building blocks [in particular verifable credentials] will, in my opinion, introduce a new level of efficiencies for payment networks or Bank to Bank transfers.

In fact I'd like to predict that one day people will say, of Open Banking, its key contribution was to 'simplify the payments value chain'.  Enabling banks to do what they did hundreds of years ago: put people in control of asserting something they own or have proven.  Issue  'transferable bearer instruments' enabling instant atomic transactions [all aspects of the ledger are updated instantly or nothing happens at all]  without the need for third party intervention/involvement.

Yes, this is how crypto currencies work today:  and my suggestion describes a fiat pegged transfer,  using modifications to the protocols to manage permissions and ownership and the maintenance of systems of record [perhaps the biggest cost saving for Banks].

Ooops, I have broken my rule to not use the conditional subjuntive [could have, should have would have]...

Philippe Guenet
Philippe Guenet - Henko - Reigate 14 April, 2021, 09:322 likes 2 likes

It shows the process from a custom feature to productised to commoditised. This is typical evolution in the strategic lifecycle that is well captured in something like Wardley Maps. 

It feels like Barclays developed it as a useful feature and left it at that, while the market continued to evolve and reached for size by taking advantage of standardisation. When that happens, it is very difficult to keep a homegrown feature. 

The biggest miss is that they should have unbundled it to become a market proposition of its own. We are going to see this a lot with the expansion of open banking. Either new offerings commoditising custom features and banks ending up adopting them, or banks unbundling elements of their estate as market offerings (platform play). 

Better start learning about Wardley Mapping if you are a banking exec! 

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - RTGS & ClearBank - London 14 April, 2021, 14:102 likes 2 likes

I think this was innevitable, even back in 2012 when the service was getting launched. I actually remember writting an article on the shelf-life of pingit back then....Unfortunately the experience, unless you had a barclays bank account, felt like loading a wallet and the benefit of making a payment via mobile phone number was marginal even back then. However, the product has survived and should have moved on...

What we are seeing here is that the industry has caught up in its thinking, so with Open Banking the Pingit solution looks very narrow - so its days were very much numbered. 

If anything Pingit should serve as en example to all banks that they must embrace new market infrastructure and embrace partnerships with FinTechs. 

Open Banking has opened the door, not by a lot, but enough for us to ask what more could be done. What better experiences and improved customer outcomes should we be driving towards. Open Finance (if implemented in the correct way, and by that I mean NOT using direct APIs) could be revolutionary for the industry and massively beneficial for us as customers. The smart banks will work out their "value" within Open Finance and I am sure, that will mean staying away from building bank centric open finance type applications....

Philip Harrison
Philip Harrison - Trifork.com - London 14 April, 2021, 14:532 likes 2 likes

PAYM does for most banks what Pingit did for Barclays. PAYM offers quick and easy payments from bank mobile apps.  But most consumers are unaware that this service exists. A pity.   

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 14 April, 2021, 14:581 like 1 like

Thank you all for the information, appreciate it.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 14 April, 2021, 15:192 likes 2 likes

Yet another card network alternative that has shut down. What's new? 

Reinforces my long expressed opinion that A2A RTPs lack compelling value in developed markets that have well developed card based payments with high penetration of credit cards, debit cards and POS terminals. Credit Card payments offer rewards, deferred payments and a host of other benefits that A2A RTPs don't. While merchants keep ranting against high credit card interchange, not a single merchant I know gives a discount if customer pays with low / no interchange alternatives like debit card or an A2A RTP, so there's no great incentive for a customer using credit card to switch to A2A RTP.

I don't see any role of Open Banking in the shutdown of PingIt. Where A2A RTPs have done well, it has happened without Open Banking regulation e.g. AliPay and WeChat Pay in China; UPI in India; Venmo and Zelle in USA. If anything, PingIt's shutdown may portend the outlook for Open Banking A2A payment methods.


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