News & Views - Savantor

Financial industry innovation

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

There was a nice illustration of the traditional banks versus the new kids on the block when a survey on innovation in the industry from Fast Company puts coffee chain Starbucks at number two and omits any traditional financial services firms, bar American Express, from the top ten in the same week that Barclays announced the revolutionary Pingit money transfer system.

While Square topped the rankings, the big surprise was the positioning of Starbucks at number two "for showing what a struggling powerhouse can do to revitalise its reputation and strengthen its relationship with customers through its own payment system". The coffee chain's mobile payments app saw 26 million transactions and more than $100 million loaded last year. Among the top ten, only PayPal and American Express can be considered mainstream players in financial services.

But surely Barclays deserve credit for catching rivals cold with their innovative Pingit system which allows users of smartphones to make payments using their mobile phone number. Once the app is downloaded all you need to know is the recipient’s phone number to make a payment. The app is controlled by a 5 digit PIN and at the moment payments are capped at £300.

This could easily become the industry standard (and a replacement for cheques?) as Barclays claims to have recruited 20,000 users in 2 days and plans to make the service available to customers of all banks.

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