UK mobile commerce firm Zapp announced it will reach 20m users by 2017, in an ambitious attempt to compete with giants Mastercard and Visa.
An independent subsidiary of VocaLink, start-up Zapp is aiming to bring real-time mobile payments – in store, online and through apps – to people by integrating its system into bank apps and into the Faster Payments rails.
To use Zapp customers log in to their banking app and confirm purchase. The data will pass between the retailer, Zapp and customer’s bank.
According to the firm, the service will be launched in the second half of 2014, and it is in the closing stage of deals with three high street banks, but declined to disclose which ones.
As well as dealing with banks, Zapp is also expecting to add several major retailers to the project within the next few weeks, promising higher checkout completions and lower fees than firms associated with card payments. Recently, payments providers WorldPay Optimal Payments, Realex and SagePay have all signed a partnership with the firm.
Zapp CEO Peter Keenan says that the service has the potential to revolutionise in-store payments, freeing them from the checkout. For instance, customers in sandwich shops could pick up their food and pay via QR code and then flash their phone at a staff member on the way out of the shop to prove that they have paid.
Trials for the e- and m-commerce features, small business service and a bill payment option will begin next summer ahead of a full launch by the end of 2014, while in-store payments will follow shortly after, the firm also revealed.