Users of digital payment app Ugo Wallet can now use the program for peer-to-peer transfers, developer Ugo Mobile Solutions L.P. announced today.
With the app’s new P2P feature, Ugo Pay, consumers can load funds from their Visa or MasterCard credit cards or Visa Debit card onto their UGO Wallet, and securely transfer money to other users via text message, either by selecting a contact from their address book or entering a mobile phone number. Recipients can then accept the funds and choose to keep the balance, cash out, or make a purchase.
“It’s intended to be the digital version of your physical wallet,” Salim Jivraj, chief operating officer of UGO, tells ITBusiness.ca. “So once customers have funds in their wallet, they’re able to use it to send somebody else money, or use those funds to pay at participating merchants, such as a restaurant.”
Though UGO Pay is still in beta, its developers have already made arrangements with CARA Brands – owners of Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet, East Side Mario’s, and Kelsey’s, among other well-known establishments – to have the app accepted at its many restaurants, where Jivraj says diners can now use Ugo Wallet to easily divide a bill between friends.
It’s that type of feature that differentiates Ugo Wallet from the many banking apps currently on the market, which focus on transactions between users and their banks, Jivraj says.
While Ugo’s business partners for Ugo Pay are currently limited to Visa, MasterCard, and CARA, Jivraj says that customers can expect new features and partners in the coming months, though he could not disclose who they might be.
“We’re very excited because this is our first step in the market and we’re continuing to evolve,” he says. “[Future updates] will both address what customers can do in terms of their flexibility to move funds into the wallet, and look at connecting them with things like Interac debit, or their bank. We’re also looking at adding other merchants, so that you can have a variety of places where you can actually spend funds that you’ve received.”
UGO Pay is only the latest enhancement to hit the UGO Wallet app during the past year. Previous updates added the ability to store and use any loyalty card, and to electronically redeem or receive gift cards. Each feature is protected by banking-level security, with optional PIN or password settings available, and the app itself is supported across iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms, regardless of the user’s service provider.
Despite the steady upgrades, UGO Wallet faces an uphill battle: the app surpassed 100,000 users before its first-year anniversary last year, but consumers have been slow to adopt digital payments in general, with only 40 per cent of Canadians aware their smartphones can double as a wallet according to one survey, and only 11 per cent saying they would regularly use the U.S.’s favourite mobile payment app, Apple Pay.