Are mobiles the future of money?
Leeds Student Tech has previously reported on services such as Square and NFC enabled mobile phones, which use hardware technologies to allow you to send and receive payments using your phone, but now two new apps, O2 Wallet and Barclays PingIt, allow anyone to send money to a friend using their phone.
Both services work in similar ways. You first download the app (both services are compatible with iOS, Android and Blackberry phones) and register for the service. Once registered, you are greeted with a PayPal style interface, in which you can top-up your account and send money to others. Both services only require the mobile phone number of the payee, rather than a username or e-mail address, making it simpler. Once you’ve sent a payment the payee receives a notification, or, if they haven’t signed-up for the service, a text informing them of how to register so they can transfer your payment into their bank account.
Whilst the above concept sounds convenient enough, both services feature similar, crippling flaws. Firstly, the registration process for each service is overly long and confusing, particularly for O2 Wallet, which involved creating three different passwords or PIN numbers and entering several mobile verification codes. Barclays PingIt’s method of verifying my bank account, entering a 6 digit reference attached to a 1p payment into my account within 24 hours, took several attempts before I was able to successfully verify my account. I have also, despite repeatedly trying, been unable to deposit money into my O2 Wallet, with the top-up constantly failing. Factors such as these add to the fact that both services are just too complicated to garner mass adoption. That, and the fact they offer little over PayPal, means for the immediate future, you’re better off just handing over some cash…