High street banks sign up for Zapp mobile payments

HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank have all signed up to a new mobile payments system that will enable shoppers to pay for goods and services in shops and online with a smartphone.

The Zapp service will allow consumers to pay for purchases using an existing high street banking app, linked to users' bank accounts - meaning they will no longer need cash or cards.

Nationwide and the high street banks will integrate the Zapp mobile payment system into their existing mobile banking apps, most of which are available on a range of smartphone operating systems including Apple's iPhone and Android.

Zapp promises that payments will be secure and provide a "seamless real-time payment choice to millions of customers as they shop".

If successful, it means people will no longer have to remember multiple passwords, card numbers or usernames when paying for goods and services. Instead, a smartphone loaded with the relevant mobile banking app will be enough – though consumers will need to have funds available because money is transferred instantly from shopper to retailer when "Zapped".

While the likes of Barclays and NatWest have not yet signed up to use the new service, Zapp said it will continue to recruit new members "throughout 2014", though Barclays operates its own payments system called Pingit. The banks above have said they will be ready to launch the new payments service in autumn 2014.

Payment choices

Steve Pateman, executive director and head of UK banking at  Santander, said: "Our customers want the choice to be able to pay on the go using mobile technology. Santander is as delighted to be involved with this initiative as we think our customers will be, when they start using it.

"Zapp helps us meet the growing demand from our customers to use their mobiles to pay for goods and services swiftly and securely. With the vast majority of UK merchants on board, we expect to see rapid take up of payments powered by Zapp."

Visit zapp.co.uk for more.

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