FIVE UK BANKS have signed up to a standard for a digital wallet service.
HSBC, its subsidiary First Direct, Metro Bank, Santander Bank and building society Nationwide have agreed to get on board with Zapp, which will launch this autumn.
Zapp will work across a range of environments from in-store payment and peer-to-peer exchanges via NFC to online shopping, in which a website's checkout will trigger the app to be activated on your smartphone to complete the transaction.
Merchants will also be able to accept payment using the peer-to-peer service, opening the possibility that sole traders and small businesses will be able to accept credit cards without a card reader for the first time.
Account balances will be displayed before each transaction so users will be able to see how much money they have available before and after they make their purchases.
Paypal, Barclays Pingit and Orange are among the rival players in the burgeoning digital wallet market, but as yet none of these have gained much leverage with brick and mortar retailers.
Zapp is a UK firm and a subsidiary of Vocalink, a company that has been working to automate payments between financial institutions at a corporate level, but this its first foray into consumer payments.
Rather than a separate app, the Zapp service will be integrated into the institutions' existing mobile apps for use by their customers. This differs from the Pingit and Paypal services that are open to all but simply act as intermediaries between existing payment systems.
Zapp has not indicated yet whether any retailers are onboard, but hopes that several high profile brands will join in the run up to launch. µ