Using Pingit if you have a visual impairment

At Henshaws, we love technology that enables visually impaired people to live their day-to-day lives more independently. We especially love mainstream technology that happens to be useful for visually impaired people too.
One such solution is Pingit, a money management solution developed by Barclays.

What is Pingit?

Pingit is a money management solution that allows you to send money to your contacts, donate to charities, manage budgets and make contactless payments.

The solution comprises an app, available on iOS and Android, which allows you to create and manage your Pingit account, organise your money and transfer money to other people.

The service also comprises Pingit devices, which allow you to make contactless payments, in the same way you would if using your debit card. Pingit devices come in different styles including keyrings, fobs, watches and bracelets. You can manage your Pingit devices using the app.

Richard, one of our Digital Enablement Officers, put Pingit to a thorough test, to see how well it works and how accessible it is.

The app was tested on an iPhone 8.

Read his verdict below.

A screenshot of the Pingit app home screen, which includes an indication that there is £6.17 in the Pingit account, as well as options including 'create a new jar', and options for 'home', 'spend', 'pay and request', 'giving' and 'help'

Setting Up

When I received my new Pingit key fob, it came in a box the size of a paperback book. I opened the box and followed the instructions on the inside, which were straightforward. The text for the instructions was small but the print was good quality and was easily magnified.

First, I popped the Pingit chip out of the credit card-sized piece of plastic that it came in. The chip is the same size and shape as a full-sized mobile SIM. I slotted this into the fob and clicked the fob closed. The design of the fob is durable and secure.

I then downloaded and set up the Pingit app.

Once downloaded and launched, the first thing I was asked to do was to enter a five-digit passcode, and then confirm it by entering it a second time.

I was then asked to enter my bank account details followed by my name, address and contact details, and agree to the terms and conditions before moving on. As part of the registration process, Pingit paid one pence into my account. The reference attached to that payment was the word, “Pingit” followed by a six digit number that was requested by the app to complete the registration process.

Next, I created a “jar” which I called “fob” (due to my complete lack of imagination!) This feature allows you to use different Pingit devices for different jars so you can keep track of your expenditure.

I was also asked for my card details for the card that I would be using to top-up my Pingit account.

At this point, I had completed the set up process for most of the features that Pingit has to offer.

There are additional services that you can unlock, like ordering and using additional devices, ordering a Pingit card or exceeding the £200 balance limit, for which I was asked to take photo proof of identity and a utility bill into a Barclays branch.

Photo of a Pingit fob

Topping Up

Before I could top up, I had to access the app. This involves entering the five-digit passcode that I created when setting up the app. It would be great if the app used touch (or face) ID, in the same way that other money management and banking apps do.

Once the app was opened, I selected my Pingit device from the home screen and was given a summary of the last few transactions, together with options to ‘Top up,’ ‘Withdraw,’ ‘Pay,’ or ‘Request’.

I selected ‘Top up’ and was asked for the amount I wanted to top-up by and the last three digits on the signature strip.

The first few times that I topped up, I was referred to the ‘Verified by Visa’ security webpage for additional security, but this appears to be no longer required after topping up several times.

A screenshot of the Pingit top-up confirmation screen, indicating that £5.00 has been added to the Pingit account and that the money should be available immediately

Contactless Payment

This was really easy! I just tapped or held the fob near the retailer’s terminal and that was it. Anywhere that accepts contactless payment will be able to accept payment by Pingit.

As the fob was on my keyring, I didn’t have to get my wallet out, identify the appropriate card and then juggle everything to put it away again. Once paid, I returned my keys to my pocket without any fuss.

Additional Features

The app has additional features, which you do not need a Pingit device to be able to use. You could download the app and use these features without ever owning a Pingit Device.

These features include mpay, (which is a way of transferring money via mobile phones), money transfers abroad and to other individuals, payment via QR code and payment via Bank app (another way of paying a retailer).

Until you have unlocked the app by taking additional identification into a Barclays bank, there is an annual limit of £800.00 on money transfers.

Accessibility

VoiceOver worked as expected throughout. I was able to download and set up the app using VoiceOver with the screen curtain on.

However, Dynamic Fonts were mixed within the app. All the data that was changeable within the app was compatible with Dynamic Fonts. I could read my transactions with ease.

However, all the ‘fixed’ information, as in information that does not change like buttons or explanatory notes, remained in a small font when the text size was changed.

You can use Siri with the Pingit app to pay one of your contacts and you can create a Siri Shortcut to transfer a set amount of money to someone else.

Security

The app requires a five-digit passcode to access, and there is no option to use touch ID or Face ID.

When making a contactless payment, your Pingit device needs to be within a few centimeters of the terminal for money to be taken off it, in the same way that a contactless card does. As such, there is no greater risk in having a Pingit device than having a contactless card.

If you lose your Pingit device, the maximum that can be spent on it is the amount that you have topped it up by. If your balance falls below a certain threshold, you are prompted within the app to confirm that the device is still in your posession.

There is also a ‘Freeze’ facility within the app, so that you can immediately stop any further transactions from happening.

Final Thoughts

Pingit avoids spending time finding the correct card and accidentally dropping it if it has not been put away properly.

The fact that any losses are limited by the balance of the Pingit device, and you have the facility to freeze the device if you lose it, make it a much better option than using a card that, if stolen, could empty your account.

Some tweaks to the app to make it more compatible with Dynamic Fonts, touch ID and Face ID integration, and the ability to create a Siri shortcut to Top up would be welcome.

However, general day-to-day use is very easy and can give you peace of mind that you don’t have to get your purse or wallet out to make a payment when you don’t know who is around.

If you want to learn more about Pingit, you can watch our video and listen to Mark explain it’s features.

You can also find more information by visiting the Pingit website.

Download Pingit from the App Store

Download Pingit from the Play Store

If you live in Greater Manchester and would like to find out more about other ways that you can use technology to manage your money, and perform other day-to-day tasks, you can get in touch with our Digital Enablement team by calling 0300 222 5555 or emailing info@henshaws.org.uk

You can also check out our Knowledge Village where we have lots more advice to help you manage your money independently.

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Sarah
Sarah is the Marketing Manager with responsibility for Community Services across Greater Manchester, and the Knowledge Village.