In what is thought to be a world first, a buyer has snapped up a London house for sale with a simple swipe of his mobile phone.
In seconds, the house hunter was able to pay a £23,000 deposit this month on the three-bedroom property in Mitcham using the Barclays Pingit phone app. The app was used to read a QR (quick response) code supplied by Savills Auctions on the property’s details. Once the property was recognised by the app, one “Okay” click from the buyer was all that was needed to secure the house, with the deposit transferred from his bank account almost instantaneously.
Darren Foulds, Pingit’s product director, said the key advantage of paying by smartphone is speed and safety. “It is an instant payment that takes just a few seconds. And it is secure because you don’t have to give any of your bank details or a Pin number to an individual or business.”
In the last two years, some 2.5 million people have downloaded Pingit, says Barclays. But this is the first time it has ever been used to buy a house. It can also be used to do anything from renew an AA membership to paying a water bill. In the future Foulds believes buyers will routinely use this kind of facility to put down deposits on homes, pay workmen, and pay their bills, including rent.
While the day when cash and cards are obsolete is a long way off, the Centre for Economic and Business Research predicts that by 2020, a total of 20 million adults will be using their mobile phones to pay for goods and services.
Sam Winser, associate at Savills Auctions, said cash transfer by mobile is a fast and efficient way to buy a home. “It gives buyers the ability to send - and for us to receive - guaranteed funds immediately, which is obviously hugely advantageous.”