Customers can use Twitter handle to make payments

People will be able to pay each other and small businesses using just their Twitter handle in a UK industry first, a bank has announced today.

Customers using Barclays’s Pingit payment service can link their Twitter handle to the app starting from 10 March on both Android phones and iOS devices, shortening transaction times.

By opening up payments though social media Barclays is potentially tapping into a pool of 13.5 million Twitter users in the UK, as the Pingit app is available to all customers whether they bank with Barclays or not.

“We are always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make people’s lives easier and customer feedback plays a big part in how we chose to further develop our apps,” Darren Foulds, director of mobile banking at Barclays, explained.

Pingit, which was launched in 2012, already allows people to send and receive payments using mobile phone numbers, without needing to exchange bank account numbers and sort codes. The app has been downloaded by 3.7 million people to date and over £1bn has been sent using it.

“Adding the ability to pay using just a Twitter handle brings together a social and digital experience to create a new step forward for mobile payments in the UK,” Foulds said.

The announcement comes a week after the banking group RBS introduced Apple’s Touch ID technology to allow its customers to access accounts on their smartphones, as E&T news reported.

Responding to customers’ feedback and possibly shrinking attention span, technology has accelerated and changed the way people pay in recent years.

Figures from the UK Cards Association show that spending on contactless 'tap and go' cards has seen a threefold increase over the last year to reach a record £2.32bn.

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