UK retailers to introduce Zapp m-payments from 2015

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A number of major UK retailers will begin introducing m-payment service Zapp from next year. 

Asda, Sainsbury’s, House of Fraser, Thomas Cook and Shop Direct will begin supporting payments via the app in 2015, with further partnerships announced with brands including Clarks, Dune and a number of UK utility providers.

Zapp expects to pull in more than 35 million users through its new and ongoing partners, calling it “the largest coalition of retailer support for a new payment method ever announced in the UK”.

The m-payment service allows users to purchase goods using their smartphone when used in conjunction with their bank’s mobile app. Payments are made using “digital tokens” that enables users’ account details to remain hidden to retailers.

Zapp moves money instantaneously from users’ bank accounts to the merchant, with customers able to view their balance at the point of purchase and switch between accounts.

Meanwhile, Zapp claims the service will deliver “significantly improved” cash-flow for retailers, who will additionally no longer need to store customer card details in compliance with  Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

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 payments are covered by similar protection measures that exist for debit card payments, the company claimed.

Peter Keenan, Chief Executive of Zapp, commented: “At last the promise of a truly mobile and digital payment method will become a reality.”

However, Eden Zoller, Principal Consumer Analyst at Ovum, said that Zapp needed further backing from major retailers if it hopes to truly take off.

She commented: “For mobile proximity payments to be successful, widespread merchant acceptance is critical – until this is in place consumer uptake and usage of mobile proximity payments will remain low.

“Zapp has yet to make its business model public but it is promising that transaction fees will be less than cards and other payment methods, which is another crowd pleaser for merchants. Zapp will have to deliver on this promise or risk retailer disappointment.”

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