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High street banks to offer Vocalink Zapp mobile wallet

Cliff Saran

Zapp, the mobile banking subsidiary of Vocalink, has signed up five UK banks to its mobile payments app just a week after O2 announced it was shutting down O2 Wallet.

HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank have all signed up to Zapp. According to Zapp, 60% of UK merchants will be able to take advantage of Zapp payments.

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Steve Pateman, executive director and head of UK Banking at Santander, said: “Zapp helps us meet the growing demand from our customers to use their mobiles to pay for goods and services swiftly and securely. With most UK merchants on board, we expect to see rapid take-up of payments powered by Zapp.”

Barclays offers its own PingIt banking app while RBS has yet to unveil its plans.

Experts predict that mobile wallets are expected to take off in 2014. Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) study, commissioned by Zapp, predicted that purchases from mobile wallets will triple from current levels to £14.2bn in 2018.

Eden Zoller, principal analyst in Ovum’s consumer team, said: “Integrating Zapp with existing financial services is a good move.” Ovum’s Consumer Insights survey reported that 32% of UK respondents chose banks as their most trusted mobile payment service provider.

The Zapp application looks like it is trying to keep things simple and convenient for consumers. The Zapp application does not require consumers to directly reveal account information to third parties, which might ease the concerns consumers have with security of mobile payments.

Tony Prestedge, chief operating officer of Nationwide Building Society, said: “With Zapp, consumers can use their trusted banking app to directly pay for goods and services, and instantly check their balance as part of their process.

“The ability to provide scale is a critical success factor for mobile payments and Zapp has made a promising start by signing the financial brands announced. However, to succeed in its ultimate goal of becoming a single, industry wide m-payment platform, Zapp will need to get the other major UK financial institutions behind it.”

Along with First Direct, Metro Bank, HSBC, Sanander and Nationwide, join WorldPay, Optimal Payments, Realex and SagePay are supporting Zapp. 

Zapp estimated that up to 18 million people will be able to make payments using its service. David Yates, chairman of Zapp and CEO of VocaLink, said: “Zapp is a major payment innovation for Britain that will bring significant value to consumers, merchants and financial institutions.”


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