January 17th 2014
More UK bank customers will soon be able to take advantage of mobile payment facilities.
The 'Zapp' smartphone and tablet app is to be launched by five UK lenders, allowing their customers to pay for goods or services online or in stores without using payment cards or cash. Developer VocaLink claims that Zapp is more secure than alternatives, since users' bank details are not shared.
HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank have all announced that they will launch the facility to their customers in the Autumn. This will enable:
– Making a purchase online via your smart device by selecting Zapp at checkout, which will launch the banking app which will then contain details of the transaction
– Shopping via PC, by clicking on the Zapp icon which will send a notification to your smart device, which, when selected, will launch the banking app and give it the necessary data
– Paying bills received by post by using the smart device's camera to scan a QR barcode printed in the paperwork that will provide details of the charge to the app
– Shopping in a store, where the app will either receive a payment request by tapping the phone on an NFC (near field communication) terminal, by scanning a QR code from a screen or by typing in a six-digit code provided by the till operator
In every case listed above, completion of the payment will require just a tap a button in the banking app.
What of the other mobile payment apps?
Last week, Telefonica – O2's parent company, announced that it was shutting down its O2 Wallet service just 18 months after it launched, saying it was looking for better ways to make mobile payments. Barclays Bank is still offering its Pingit service. And PayPal also offers an app that allows people to make and receive digital payments, but it needs their bank or credit card details. Other examples of smartphone-based payment solutions include Orange's Quick Tap and Moneto.
Zapp Chief Executive Peter Keenan told the BBC: "We will be the only payment method where at the point of sale the customer can see the real-time balance of their accounts. This allows them to say, 'I've got this much money in my account, shall I go ahead and buy this product or not? And because they are using a smartphone, it allows them to keep a record of all their spendingand purchases in one device."