Banks launch smartphone payment app15th January 2014
Certain banks will enable customers to purchase products via their smartphone, thanks to new technology.
The smartphone payment facility called Zapp will be integrated into the lenders' mobile banking apps. Nationwide, HSBC, First Direct, Santander and Metro Bank have signed up to the scheme, meaning 18 million UK customers will be able to benefit from the technology.
When customers reach the checkout of a store that accepts Zapp payments, a unique code will be sent to their handset. This code contains information about the transaction – such as its price, the retailer's details and information about the product – that appears on the device's screen.
After the customer has logged into the banking app, with just a tap of the finger they can confirm or reject the purchase. They will be able to see their bank balance to make sure they have the funds to buy the products and Zapp claims the whole process will take approximately 12 seconds.
Banks state this new form of technology will be safer than conventional payment methods as not only will the unique code expire after three minutes, but also the payment works through 'digital tokens', which ensure customers' financial information remains secure.
Zapp's chief executive Peter Keenan told the BBC: "We will be the only payment method where, at the point of sale, the customer can see the real-time balance of their accounts."
"This allows them to say, 'I've got this much money in my account, shall I go ahead and buy this product or not? And because they are using a smartphone, it allows them to keep a record of all their spending and purchases in one device," he added.
Any bills received through the post can also be paid for with Zapp. The QR barcode printed on the bill needs to be scanned by the phone's camera and the user will then be able to pay the sum of money.
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Posted by The EnerGenie