By Simon Cadbury, head of strategy and innovation at Intelligent Environments

New mobile payments service Zapp is set to completely change the field of mobile banking when it launches this coming September. Earlier this year it was announced that major lenders including HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank will be adopting Zapp and implementing it from launch, so its impact on the digital financial services market is going to be huge.

Zapp will integrate into these banks’ existing smartphone and tablet apps, giving customers the ability to pay in shops and online without cash or credit cards. Unlike a traditional mobile wallet, which requires the customer to put their credit or debit card information in before it can be used to pay, Zapp takes payments directly from the existing bank account. That means users won’t have to share account information with third parties, which makes the whole process of paying via a mobile device easier and more secure.

At launch, the system will change how consumers shop in a number of different ways:

  • Mobile: Consumers shopping on their smartphone or tablet will be able to tap the Zapp icon at the checkout, launching their banking app which will contain details of the transaction ready for approval
  • Online: Similarly, people shopping at home via a desktop computer will be able to click on the Zapp icon, which again will push the transaction to their smart device’s banking app enabling a quick approval
  • Paper bills: Bills received through the post can be paid using a smartphone or tablet camera to scan a QR barcode printed in the paperwork that will provide details of the charge to the app. Once set up, a user can then have all requests for payment pushed directly to their smart device.
  • Invoicing: A sole trader, such as a plumber, can send a request for payment directly to customer’s device. The end users banking app is then pre-populated with the right details for quick approval.
Simon Cadbury
Simon Cadbury

Zapp are also looking to enable quick payments at in store checkouts using either NFC, QR code or Bluetooth technology. However, the act of making a payment isn’t the only way Zapp is going to change the field of m-commerce. Zapp recently hosted a Hackathon so teams of developers from startups, fintech companies and retailers could find new and innovative ways in which Zapp’s technology could be used. The resulting ideas include a cardless cash machine, presented by financial services supplier FEXCO and a claim management solution from startup Youstice.


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Our own team attended the event, securing second place by building a fully functioning iOS and Android app called ZappTheTab. The app is a bill-splitter that uses Zapp’s technology to make life easier for large groups in restaurants. ZapptheTab uses iBeacons to enable a whole table to order at the same time whilst also sharing items such as bottles wine or platters, figure out exactly how much individuals owe to the overall bill and, crucially, allows individuals to pay for their own share.  It also reduces the stress of waiting for each person to pay and knowing that a bill has been correctly divvied up, takes less than 30 seconds per person to complete and even helps with the calculation and accurate splitting of a tip.

First place was awarded to SagePay. Its team developed a location-aware app designed to improve gig-going music lovers’ payment experiences by making the gig ticketing, queuing and attending processes manageable through a single app. Using Zapp technology, Sage Pay developed an app which would allow a gig-goer to pay for a concert automatically when they arrive. The geo-ticketing solution they developed is a great example of how mobile payments help blur the lines between online, mobile and the in-store – or at-event – shopping experience.

Deloitte Digital was another team that impressed the judges, earning third place with a solution to consumer overspending that puts customers back in charge of their money. The Deloitte team’s personal finance app, Pow, powered by Zapp, shows a user the best price for a product they scan with their mobile and what impact buying it will have on their bank account.

These are just a few of the transformative innovations that financial services companies are starting to see in Zapp, and a few of the ways the technology will be helping to improve the entire process for banking customers. What’s exciting is that these practical payment applications are just the beginning. Following its launch, Zapp will attract a huge amount of attention, and Intelligent Environments is thrilled to be helping transform the mobile payment experience right from the start.