Barclays to allow mobile payments based on Twitter handles

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.

TransferWise raises $58M in Andreessen Horowitz-led Series C

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We’ve covered TransferWise quite a few times – along with one or two rivals such as CurrencyFair, the London-based financial technology startup offers a genuinely disruptive foreign exchange service that significantly undercuts the banks. Its backers apparently also continue to see great potential: having led TransferWise’s $6 million Series A round just over a year ago, PayPal(s ebay) co-founder Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures has again participated in the firm’s $25 million Series B, alongside Index Ventures, Virgin boss Richard Branson, IA Ventures, TAG, and Le Monde owner Xavier Niel. TransferWise, run by former Skype(s msft) director Taavet Hinrikus, says it will use the funds for marketing.

BancBox: don’t just take payments, do something with them

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SigFig offers to tune up your investment portfolio

SigFig, a product born from portfolio tracker Wikinvest, is finally launching formally Tuesday. The free service allows users to sync all their investments and monitor them in real-time from one dashboard with extensive analysis conducted in the background to help find where users can save money.