Smartphone payment system could mean the end of cash

Five UK banks have embraced the new mobile payment facility called Zapp. Zapp allows real-time payments on customers smartphones and tablets through their existing mobile banking app.

The app will allow consumers to make purchases at the touch of a button without the need for cash or credit cards.

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.

By using Zapp at the checkout, smartphone users shopping online will bring up their banking app containing details of the transaction.

When shopping in a physical store Zapp can receive a payment request by tapping a smart device on an near field communication terminal (NFC), by scanning a QR code from a screen or by typing in a six-digit code provided by the till operator.

Integrated cameras will be able to pay bills received by post simply by scanning the QR barcode, which will provide details of the charge to the app.

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