Facing a growing threat from TransferWise and other specialists working to streamline cross-border payments, Barclays and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) are trying a new system enabling customers to zap funds between the two banks in real time.
Beginning later this year, about 3 million users of Pingit, London-based Barclays’ payment app, and 11.8 million customers of Sydney-based CBA will be able to send funds to each other over the 10,000-mile gap using only the recipient’s mobile phone number, the banks said in a Sept. 9 press release.
The move spanning two of the most active international payments markets marks the first time two global financial institutions have teamed up to link mobile payment platforms, according to the banks.
CBA said it will offer the service to all of its customers through the bank’s mobile app, and Pingit's app is available to any U.K. bank account customer, the banks said.
A few key catalysts apparently helped drive the collaboration. Michael Harte, who heads technology development at Barclays, was group executive for enterprise services and chief information officer at CBA until 2014, when he took a similar role at Barclays in London.
CBA also recently opened a branch of its global innovation lab—which already had offices in Sydney and Hong Kong—in London near Rise, the financial services technology lab Barclays opened in 2014, the companies noted in the release.
“Technology is transforming the financial services industry and fundamentally changing what our customers and clients want and need from us,” Paul Compton, chief operating officer at Barclays, said in the release. This is the first time Pingit, launched in 2012 as a person-to-person money-transfer service in the U.K., has supported cross-border payments, Compton added.
“This (partnership) demonstrates the power of two influential global organizations collaborating to deliver world-firsts in financial services innovation,” said Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, group executive for institutional banking and markets at CBA.