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Leading retailers including Sainsbury’s and John Lewis to launch mobile payments in 2015

Services like Apple Pay are on the way, but Zapp’s new partnerships might finally make mobile payments in retail mainstream.

If you’re a fan of finding new and easy ways to pay for things, you’ll be pleased to hear that leading retailers such as John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Asda are planning to launch mobile payment technology in their stores from next year. The innovation, developed by a company called Zapp, will allow shoppers to link their bank account to their mobile phone and pay for goods at the checkout as well as using the service to pay household bills.

The Zapp app will link directly to your bank account, rather than requiring top-ups, and will display your balance in real time. In practical terms, you’ll be able to do your shopping as normal and either scan a QR code generated at the checkout or enter a six-digit PIN and choose which account you want the payment to be made from. There’s even talk of being able to use your device’s NFC for contactless payments, when the transaction is under a certain sum; a technology which has been in the pipeline for some time, but hasn’t yet made it into the mainstream.

It’s great news for people who don’t like to carry cash around and has the potential to make all of your transactions easier, while allowing users to keep fully abreast of their finances. Peter Keenan, chief executive of Zapp, said that the service “means millions of consumers will be able to shop at tens of thousands of merchants up and down the UK at launch”.

Seeing mainstream adoption of mobile payment services hasn’t really happened in the UK, despite a number of schemes and company’s looking to take on the challenge. The arrival of Apple Pay next year will grant iOS users a new way to pay for goods and services with their smartphones and tablets, but Zapp’s approach has a wider reach and its design accommodates compatibility with a broader ranger of devices.

Zapp is expected to roll out early next year and is likely to be heavily promoted by the major retailers in the meantime.

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