Mobile Payments -

UK banks unveil Zapp mobile payments system

VocaLink has today unveiled a new mobile payment service backed by the UK’s major high-street lenders, which provides the infrastructure behind Bacs, Direct Debit and Mobile Top-Up.

VocaLink, owned by a consortium of 18 banks and building societies, including Barclays, RBS, Lloyds, HSBC and Santander and provides the infrastructure behind Bacs, Direct Debit and Mobile Top-Up has said Zapp is expected to launch to consumers in 2014.

It will allow smartphone users to make instant, secure payments from their bank account via their mobile banking app and will bridge ecommerce, mcommerce and extend into payments made directly in a retail environment.

Justin Basini, chief marketing officer of Zapp, said: “There are lots of players in this space but nobody has really been able to capitalise on the mobile payments opportunity. We are the only ones who are aligning the interests of the three major stakeholders: the financial institutions, the retailers and the consumers and that puts us in a unique position.”

Unlike some existing apps, Zapp will be bank-agnostic and will come pre-installed as an area within the major banks’ own mobile banking apps, rather than requiring a separate download. In addition, Zapp is system agnostic and will work with NFC, QR codes or via one-time tokens, where the user enters a transaction code to initiate the payment.

The service, which has been developed with £16 million of funding from VocaLink, will need up to £100 million of funding ahead of next year’s launch, to be raised by selling stakes of up to 10% to retailers, utilities providers and mobile phone operators.

“We’re looking to bring in shareholders that can benefit from the mobile payments eco-system, so financial institutions, retailers and merchant acquirers, like WorldPay,” continues Basini. “We’re focusing on the UK at the moment, but if it’s successful here, then we will look at rolling it out internationally.”

Basini said the focus of Zapp’s marketing strategy was currently B2B but that it would start rolling communications out to consumers to tie-in with the 2014 launch to educate them on what Zapp is and how to use it within their mobile banking app.

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