One of several approaches

Barclays to allow mobile payments based on Twitter handles

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The British bank Barclays has announced a new twist on its Pingit mobile payments app – users will be able to transfer money to one another using their Twitter handles.

Pingit, which has been around for a few years now, has so far used phone numbers as the main identifiers for its users, who do not need to be [company]Barclays[/company] customers (though they do need a U.K. bank account and phone number) and don’t need to pay any transaction fees. As of 10 March, iOS and Android users will be able to associate their [company]Twitter[/company] handles with their Pingit accounts in the same way.

“Adding the ability to pay people or a small business using just a Twitter handle brings together a social and digital experience to create a new step forward for mobile payments in the UK,” Pingit chief Darren Foulds said in a statement.

That said, this approach – where Twitter IDs are used from within the Pingit app — is only one of several ways in which banks are enabling mobile payments using elements of Twitter. Last year France’s Groupe BPCE launched a service whereby people can actually send payments through public Twitter itself, with tweets containing special phrasing that triggers a form of verification on the recipient’s smartphone.

In January, Indian bank ICICI also launched a Twitter-based money transfer service, which involves sending a direct message to the bank’s Twitter account, containing the recipient’s Twitter handle and the amount to be transferred.