Five banks sign up for payment app Zapp

FIVE UK banks yesterday said they’d signed up to a new mobile payment facility called Zapp, which allows real-time payments on customers smartphones and tablets through their existing mobile banking app.

HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank are the first lenders to announce they will adopt Zapp, ahead of its autumn launch. Together, the banks represent more than a third of all UK bank accounts.

Zapp has been set up by Vocalink, which administers systems like the BACS transfer process on behalf of banks. VocaLink is owned by a consortium of 18 banks and building societies.

Zapp will be synchronised with existing online banking apps for smartphones and tablets, and can be used online using the app to pay. When shopping in a physical store, users can touch the ‘pay by Zapp’ button on a self-checkout touchscreen or will be able to scan a code into the handset from a paper bill or the screen on a modern card machine.

The payment system also works for bills sent through the post, where QR codes can be scanned with the phone’s camera to launch the app and make payments.

The emergence of systems such as Zapp reflects the growing role smart devices are playing in the lives of consumers.

Around 20m people will use their mobile phones to pay for products by the end of the decade, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research.

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