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Zapp confident of signing more banks but no word on retail partners

20 March 2014  |  7146 views  |  2 Zapp

UK mobile commerce outfit Zapp says it is hopeful of bringing more major banks onboard ahead of its launch later this year but has still not gone public with any retail partners.

Set up by VocaLink in 2013, Zapp is aiming to bring real-time mobile payments - in store, online and through apps - to millions of Brits by integrating its system into bank apps and tapping into the Faster Payments rails.

In January five major financial institutions - HSBC, first direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank - committed to embedding Zapp within their phone and tablet apps, bringing the technology to their 18 million customers.

However, as it targets 20 million users by 2017 and promises to rival traditional payments giants such as Visa and MasterCard, the startup is working hard to bring the likes of RBS, Lloyds and Barclays onboard.

Speaking at a briefing today, CEO Peter Keenan said: "We are in varying degrees of discussions with the remaining banks in the UK and are confident of making more announcements in the next few months."

The company is being more tightlipped about retail partners. With just months until the e- and m-commerce parts of the service are set to go live, Keenan is refusing to name any firms that have signed up. However, it is understood that major players in the utility and loyalty industries are on the company's radar.

Keenan is confident that with major banks behind it Zapp will flourish in a hugely competitive market. He insists that rival services such as the telco-owned Weve project are "a good thing" but argues that Brits are more likely to trust and adopt Zapp because of its closeness to banks.

In addition, Zapp CTO Ian Sayers, who oversaw the development of Pingit at Barclays before being poached, thinks that the technology's open-loop structure will also be a key contributor to its success.

Zapp demos the e-commerce element of its application

Last month Weve - owned by Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone - teamed up with MasterCard in part to help it attract banks to its rival in-store, NFC-based mobile commerce service, which is slated to launch in the first half of next year.

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 21 March, 2014, 09:56

As far as I'm aware, there's little incentive for retailers to adopt this 'debit only' technology. While uncomfirmed, I'm told that pricing is on a par with a standard debit card and there's no slick face to face transaction capability ...yet. Until merchants are given an incentive to implement it, such as it being signficantly lower in cost than a standard debit card (the fees of which are due to fall significantly if the European Commission gets its way), I think they'll be struggling to get retailers interest. Good luck to them though ....

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Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - CB Infrastructure - London | 21 March, 2014, 10:08

Mobile payments need to be very slick and have real cash incentives for businesses to adopt. Zapp doesnt provide either.

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