Barclays has launched a service that enables current account customers of all UK banks and building societies to exchange money with just a mobile phone number.

Barclays Pingit allows users to receive and send money, for free, to anyone with a UK current account and UK mobile phone number, simply by using that mobile number and without the need to share bank details.

Money is sent using the Faster Payments service; to send money, users can use the free app or they can register online to receive payments. Barclays said transfers are as secure as any other banking transaction and the app is protected by a five-digit passcode set by the user.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said: “Barclays Pingit could revolutionise the way people send and receive money. You can send and receive money in seconds, without having to enter account details.

“We're committed to making customers' lives much easier, giving them more choice in how they manage their money, and Barclays Pingit absolutely does that. I'm sure we'll soon be wondering what we did before it.”

Only Barclays current account customers will be able to send money via the app, but all current account customers (UK residents aged 18 and over) will be able to register online to receive money. The app will be available to all by early March. The Barclays Pingit app can be downloaded for free now from the Apple App Store, BlackBerry App World and Android Market.

Pat Carroll, CEO of ValidSoft, called the launch of PingIt as a 'very positive step forward in the development of mobile money, but called for all necessary security safeguards to be put in place for such technologies.

“For example, the move to Chip and PIN (EMV) reduced card fraud, but it's well known that criminals just move on to the next weakest area. In mobile money, that means the manipulation of both the sending and receiving of cash, through tactics such as SIM swap: a technique whereby fraudsters can divert calls or actions made via phone away from the number they are intended to reach and towards a different number for their own gain,” he said.

“We believe that any services provided in the mobile payments area need to have both strong inherent security and a strong enrolment process. This is fundamental to ensuring both customer security and bank reputation.”