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Asda, Sainsbury’s and HoF to help roll out Zapp m-payments to consumers – but not until 2015

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Asda, Sainsbury’s, House of Fraser, Thomas Cook and Shop Direct have all been announced as key retailers who will be helping to roll out m-payment start-up Zapp to consumers, but not until 2015, the company has revealed.

Other major retailers and billers partnering with Zapp include: Clarks, Dune, Spar, Best Western Hotels (GB), Starstock, QD Stores, Anglian Water, Bristol & Wessex Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water. Support for Zapp from the charity sector through Oxfam and Charities Aid Foundation has been previously announced.

Additionally, many of the largest payment providers in the UK including Verifone, Klarna, Touch Go, Siemens, Apogee International, Vix Technologies, Global Charge, Just Desire and RSL – are announcing that they will work with Zapp to bring mobile payments to market.

This broad group of retailers, billers and payment providers will roll out Zapp to more than 35 million customers and represents the largest coalition of retailer support for a new payment method ever announced in the UK.

However, the move comes after the planned September 2014 roll out of the service and comes behind announcements by Apple, Amazon, PayPal and Boku that have all changed the m-payments landscape since Zapp’s inception.

As well as broad retail support, and as previously announced, leading banks are supporting Zapp, including HSBC, first direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank. These banks provide current accounts to over 18 million people in the UK. Additionally, almost all major UK acquirers and Payment Service Providers, which represent hundreds of thousands of merchants, are supporting Zapp, including Worldpay, Elavon, Optimal Payments, SagePay, Realex, TrustPay Global and This breadth of support is unprecedented for a new payment method and demonstrates clearly the market demand for new and innovative ways to pay.

Despite the delayed launch, retailers were up beat, however. Jon Rudoe, Digital and Technology Director at Sainsbury’s, adds: “We know that the way that our customers shop is changing and we’re always looking at new and innovative ways to improve the experience. We’re one of the first retailers to sign up to Zapp to give our customers a quick, secure and convenient option to pay – both online and at the till.”

Paul Fielding, Group Treasurer of Asda says: “Zapp supports our long standing commitment to innovation. Our customers want to have choice, not only of what they buy but how they buy it, and Zapp will represent a fantastic addition to our payment options.”

Jonathan Wall, Group E-commerce Director of Shop Direct adds: “Shop Direct are excited to be working with Zapp to make it easy for our customers to pay their accounts online and shop with our brands. Mobile payments are a key area of innovation for us and Zapp are definitely one of the winners in this area.”

Zapp’s advantage is that it puts shoppers in control of their finances, with no need for multiple digital wallets, long card numbers, new passwords and usernames to remember. From launch, the customers of these retail brands will be able to pay for goods and services using just their existing bank account, a smartphone and a mobile banking app. Customers will be able to see their account balances at the point of purchase and choose different accounts to pay from, thereby staying more in control of their finances.

With Zapp, money moves instantly from a customer account through real-time payments, which means that cashflow for merchants can be significantly improved. This will become a major benefit for retailers in the UK – especially small and medium businesses and helps to speed up the UK economy. Zapp transactions are a fraction of the cost of cards or other alternative payment methods.

Paying online or in-store using Zapp is more secure and simpler than existing methods. Zapp payments work through secure digital “tokens”, which mean customers don’t reveal any of their financial details (including bank account details) to retailers when they are shopping. This also means that merchants do not need to store card details or incur the expense of PCI-DSS compliance.

All Zapp payments will be covered by similar protections that already exist for debit card payments, ensuring that in the event of goods not being delivered or an issue with a payment the consumer will be covered.

The core Zapp technology has been successfully built and delivered. Zapp is currently working with banks and retailers to integrate the technology into their systems and provide a great customer experience. Pilots are now being planned ahead of a launch of Zapp.

Zapp will then invest in launching the brand in the UK market, supported by the marketing efforts of its financial and retail partners. The launch will be underpinned by an awareness raising campaign from Zapp and its backers, supported by tens of millions of pounds in advertising and promotional activity. This will include a consumer education campaign, above the line advertising and promotional activity at the point of sale.

Peter Keenan, Chief Executive of Zapp, says: “Today is a hugely significant milestone in the history of money in the UK. At last the promise of a truly mobile and digital payment method will become a reality, meaning easier and more secure checkouts for millions. It’s amazing to have the support of such well known retailers. Together with our other partners this means millions of consumers will be able to shop at tens of thousands of merchants up and down the UK at launch.”

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