Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Creating a Cashless World

Back at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Eric Schmidt the Google chairman revealed that the company had once toyed with the idea of issuing its own currency. Google Bucks, as it was to be called, was intended to be a virtual currency for peer-to-peer payments.

Google however soon discovered a mire of regulatory and legal issues which varied from territory-to-territory; governments are obviously concerned on how easy monies could be laundered within such a system. Unable to easily fulfill these requirements Google shelved their Bucks idea…

Meanwhile that very same week Barclays launches its Pingit service on the UK with Apps on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. If you haven’t heard already, Pingit gives consumers an easy way to send money to family, friends or small businesses using just a mobile number. With 20,000 downloads in the first 48 hours Pingit has certainly chimed with some consumers and has left other UK banks scrambling to launch similar services.

If that wasn’t enough last week the service was opened up to all current account holders in the UK whether they’re with Barclays or not, suddenly the service has a potential market of 93 per cent of the UK adult population.


With this is mind I signed up to Pingit in the hope of trying the service but eventually found the whole experience falling short of my expectations; although I have a current account with Barclays I chose to use Pingit with another provider, and this ultimately was my downfall.

After following the various on-screen prompts, keying in my personal details, tying the App to my phone number and the service to my current account I finally found myself dropped from the digital dream back into reality. Reason being the very last requirement before I could taste the Pingit experience was for me to take into a local branch my driving license and paper copies of bank statements.

Learning this at the end, from a user experience, is poor and will undoubtedly curb Pingit’s adoption but worse for me was knowing that this final hurdle could had been overcome using alternative digital services such as KYC Secure.

KYC Secure allows the existing manual processes that are used to meet Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering checks (AML) to be automated, therefore reducing the need for customers to produce physical utility bills, driving licenses and passport to prove their identity.

Allowing a customer to securely validate their identity using Voice biometrics is almost a match made in heaven for Mobile orientated service like Pingit. Innovative services like KYC Secure can span the gap which Google and Barclays couldn’t bridge and I for one am looking forward to seeing peer-to-peer payments in peoples hands soon.

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