The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest announced they are creating a rival mobile payments service to Barclays Pingit, which will enable customers to send funds to others with a Visa card United Kingdom- based mobile phone number. The banks expect to launch the service in April.
The service initially is limited to customers in England and Wales, with a limit of up to 100 pounds (US$149) per transaction and a maximum of 100 pounds in transfers per day.
Ben Green, head of mobile at RBS and NatWest, says:
“This safe and convenient tool will encourage yet more people to make the most of mobile banking, helping our customers to bank anywhere, whenever they want.”
While the current restrictions limit growth for the banks, RBS and NatWest believe the program could be expanded to allow cross-border transactions and build on the large number of Visa-branded cards across Europe. For senders, the scheme will simplify transfers, meaning they will no longer need to know the recipient’s account or routing number. The recipient, which can posses any non-business Visa debit, credit or reloadable prepaid card, will not have to register for the program to receive the payment.
Barclays’ widespread success with Ping, was Europe’s first mobile money sending service, last year has increased pressure on other British financial institutions to deliver more effective mobile-payment solutions. With more than 2 million customers using their mobile applications, RBS and NatWest hope their customers will reach out to the 115 million Visa cards in the UK, allowing the banks to tap into the fast growing mobile payments segment.
British and European banks in general have been slow in recent years to adopt efficient mobile payment and mobile banking applications, however the market is poised to pick up rapid momentum in the near future as firms like RBS and NatWest begin to roll out more mobile banking applications to their consumers. With a strong existing payment infrastructure, mobile payments are well positioned to surge across Europe, lending credence to the old adage, “better late than never.”
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