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Zapp Teams Up With Retail Giants To Bring Mobile Payments To The High Street

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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New service will be introduced next year at Sainsbury’s, Asda, House of Fraser and many more

Some of the UK’s biggest high street brands, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, and House of Fraser, have announced they will be introducing in-store support for mobile payments from next year.

The retailers are teaming up with mobile payments provider Zapp to introduce its services both online and in their stores, meaning that customers will be able to make payments at the checkout using their mobile device.

Overall, Zapp has signed up 21 new partners covering 35 million customers ahead of its 2015 rollout, including the likes of Dune, Spar and Best Western, and well as leading payment providers Klarna and Verifone. Some Zapp customers will also be able to use the service to pay their utility bills, with Anglian Water, Bristol & Wessex Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water also announced as new partners.

Zapp - App mobile paymentMajor milestone?

Zapp payments are processed through secure digital “tokens”, which mean customers don’t reveal any of their financial details (including bank account details) to retailers when they are shopping, ensuring their personal data stays protected.

This also means that retailers are free to choose which type of hardware they use to process payments, as Zapp’s service allows the use of QR codes or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons alongside the more common Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

“Today is a hugely significant milestone in the history of money in the UK,” said Peter Keenan, chief executive of Zapp, whose parent company VocaLink processed over 10 billion UK payments with a value of over £4.5 trillion in 2012.

“At last the promise of a truly mobile and digital payment method will become a reality, meaning easier and more secure checkouts for millions. It’s amazing to have the support of such well known retailers. Together with our other partners this means millions of consumers will be able to shop at tens of thousands of merchants up and down the UK at launch.”

Mobile payments have received a significant amount of media attention in recent months as more and more providers begin to offer the service – most notably Apple with the announcement of Apple Pay last month.

Recent research by the Centre for Economic and Business Research estimates that 20 million adults will use their mobile device for payments by the end of the decade, with more than £14 billion expected to be spent in 2018.

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 has been steadily growing its presence in the UK this year, having announced in January that it had partnered with five UK banks to integrate its software in their smartphone and tablet applications.

The 18 million customers of HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank will also be able to quickly and securely make payments using these apps from next year.

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