VocaLink announces new mobile payment system ‘Zapp’

Payments infrastructure provider VocaLink is planning to launch a new mobile payments service called Zapp, which it hopes will become that standard platform for mobile payments in the UK.  

Due for commercial launch next year, the service will allow users to make payments directly from their bank accounts by scanning a barcode or tapping an NFC reader with their mobile phones.

The hope is that banks, mobile telecommunications companies and other relevant providers will integrate the service into their own mobile apps. 

"Zapp is a payment method that will work consistently across e-commerce, m-commerce, and point of sale (PoS)," said Peter Keenan, CEO of Zapp, an new compay set up by VocaLink to develop and market the service.

It will benefit the three stakeholders in the mobile payments ecosystem, Keenan said: retailers, banks and consumers.

"By developing a payment solution built for the digital age and the smartphone, Zapp has the ability to lower cost of sales for merchants through greater conversion and a better payment experience.

"For banks Zapp puts spending money back at the heart of the bank account. And for consumers Zapp is easier to use with no long card numbers, new passwords or logins to remember.

"The consumer logs in to their existing mobile banking app on their phone and Zapps a payment in seconds – easier and more secure since no details are shared with the merchant."

VocaLink has already secured £16 million in funding for Zap. It plans to raise around $100 million more by selling stakes of up to 10% in the company to banks, retailers and mobile telcos. 

The organisation currently payment platforms including Bacs and Link ATM network. Last year, it handled more than 10 billion payments worth nearly £5 trillion.

Zapp adds to an already crowded ecosystem of mobile payments projects. However, according to the latest figures from analyst company Garter, mobile payments grew slower than anticipated in 2012

Contactless payments, which use "near-field communications" technology in smartphones, fared especially poorly. "Mobile contactless payment doesn’t offer any obvious benefits over cash or card payment,” Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. 

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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