Mobile payments service Zapp is set to roll out next year and has signed up a long list of brands that will support the technology at launch, including Clarks, Dune, Shop Direct, Thomas Cook, Siemens and VeriFone.
Zapp’s existing partnerships with major banks and service providers – including HSBC, Nationwide and Santander – means that more than 35 million UK customers will be eligible to use the service when it arrives in 2015.
A key difference between Zapp and other mobile payment services is that it will not be a standalone app, and so will not rely on a particular device or operating system. Instead, Zapp will be integrated into its partner banks' mobile apps and customers will be given the opportunity to opt in.
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
A customer could buy a physical item with Zapp by taking it to the till and telling the cashier that they wish to pay with their phone.
They would then log into their banking app and tap their phone on the retailer’s point of sale to process the purchase.
Zapp has also signed deals with utility providers, including Anglian Water, Bristol & Wessex Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water, meaning customers will be able to pay off their household bills.
The company is currently piloting the technology, with its retail partners set to spend "millions of pounds" on marketing campaigns to raise consumer awareness around mobile technology ahead of the launch. Launch dates will hinge on when banks have finished inteigrating Zapp's technology into their apps.
Mobile payments finally take off
While mobile payments have been on the horizon for some time with Google, Apple, carriers and banks all innovating in the area, they have yet to take off in the UK.
Zapp CEO Peter Keenan told Marketing his company's "open loop" approach would change that.
"Unlike Apple Pay or something Google might come out with, Zapp is independent of platform," he said. "We work across all platforms and our technology is designed deliberately in that way, it's what we call ppen loop. It's for all customers, all banks and all retailers."
Paul Fielding, Asda’s group treasurer, said: "Zapp supports our long standing commitment to innovation.
"Our customers want to have choice, not only of what they buy but how they buy it, and Zapp will represent a fantastic addition to our payment options."
Jon Rudoe, Sainsbury’s digital and technology director, 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."