Sainsbury’s, Asda, House of Fraser, Thomas Cook and Shop Direct are just some of the big UK retail brands that have today announced they will be partnering with mobile payments provider Zapp to enable customers to pay for goods and services with their mobile devices from next year.
The technology from Zapp, a wholly-owned, independent subsidiary of payment systems provider VocaLink that is due to launch in 2015, enables retailers to offer a way for customers to pay for goods using just their mobile device and existing bank account. Customers can access the service through a mobile banking app.
Jon Rudoe, digital and technology director at Sainsbury’s, said: “We know that the way that our customers shop is changing and we’re always looking at new and innovative ways to improve the experience. We’re one of the first retailers to sign up to Zapp to give our customers a quick, secure and convenient option to pay - both online and at the till.”
Zapp is currently working with banks and retailers to integrate the mobile payments technology into their systems. It will run pilot projects before the launch next year.
The firm claims that checkouts with its technology are faster, and that for retailers, transactions cost less than with cards or other alternative payment methods.
Its technology uses secure digital tokens to provide payment, which means that customers do not have to reveal any of their financial details to retailers when they are shopping. This also means that merchants do not need to store card details.
All Zapp payments will be covered by similar protections that already exist for debit card payments.
The company is led by some key experts in from the financial services industry. For example, Zapp’s chief technology officer (CTO) Ian Sayers was at Barclays for over 12 years, and was responsible for the bank’s mobile payment service PingIt.
In addition, Zapp’s CEO Peter Keenan’s background includes managerial experience at HSBC, as well as retail experience having been managing director of electric goods store Currys.
A number of payment providers have also revealed they will be working with Zapp to bring the mobile payments technology to market. These include Verifone, Klarna, Touch Go, Siemens, Apogee International, Vix Technologies, Global Charge, Just Desire and RSL.
Other organisations announcing today that they are planning to offer the technology include shoe retailers Clarks and Dune, convenience store chain Spar, Best Western Hotels (GB), utility firms Anglian Water, Bristol & Wessex Water and East Surrey Water, Bravissimo and QD Stores.
Previously announced Zapp partners are HSBC, Nationwide, Santander, Metro, Worldpay, Elavon, Optimal Payments, SagePay, Realex, TrustPay Global, Checkout.com, Oxfam and Charities Aid Foundation.
Analysts have commented that mobile payments would soon become more mainstream especially after Apple launched Apple Pay with its latest iPhone 6 last month.