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Zapper app: Everything you need to know about the bill payment app

Zapper is a great time-saving app that saves you hanging around after your meal at supported restaurants, but how does it work, is it safe, and how do you get it set up on your mobile phone? Here’s everything you need to know about the Zapper app.

Zapper is a mobile payment app whose support is slowly creeping across the UK, so the chances are you might have seen it advertised in a restaurant recently.

So, what is the Zapper app, how does it work, which services support Zappar in the UK, and is it all safe to use? Here’s what you need to know before downloading.

What is Zapper?

Zapper is basically a quick and easy way of paying for something using your mobile phone. The service is set up to pay for the likes of taxis, bills and online services, as well as allowing you to make a charity donation here and there, but the focus right now is on eating out.

Download the Zapper app to your phone and you can use it in supported restaurants to pay for your meal, once you’ve finished eating. The idea is that you don’t have to hang around waiting for the waiter to appear with a card reader or to take away your cash and deliver change. All you need to do is grab the bill, pay with your mobile, and make a move.

At the time of writing, Zapper’s already up and running in Australia, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden.

How does Zapper work?

Apple is hoping to revolutionise mobile payment with Apple Pay, while Google is making similar progress with its own Android Pay. However, for both of these technologies to work, a retailer has to install compatible NFC payment terminals within its stores – as do restaurants, bars and the rest.

Zapper uses a much more simple technology. Namely, the much maligned QR code. When your bill comes in a Zapper-supporting restaurant, you’ll spy a QR code at the bottom. Just scan that using your phone’s rear camera and the Zapper app will process payment from your stored credit card or PayPal account. The restaurant will then be informed that the bill has been paid, so you can walk out without being accosted.

Zapper hands-on review

We’ve tried Zapper in a couple of places now, including Spanish restaurant Ibérica in Marylebone and The Big Easy in Covent Garden (a convenient stroll from the Recombu offices).

For the most part the meal went as you’d expect; we ordered our food and shared some polite conversation over drinks and prosciutto, but it was when it came to paying that the app supercharged the experience.

Zapper sample receipt  

When you ask for the bill, the receipt that’s placed in front of you features a Zapper-compatible QR code. This is the time to pull our your phone and load up the Zapper app.

The app’s default screen takes you straight into the scanner view, to save time tapping random menu buttons. Scan the code, add a tip if a service charge isn’t already included, and hit the pay button. With that done, you can simply walk out; no waiting, no fuss.

Of course, the first time you load up Zapper, you’ll need to set up your favoured payment option. We entered our credit card and this was accepted no problem, ready to use for all future payments. You can set up multiple cards too, if you’ve got more than one kicking around in your wallet.

Our experiences have been genuinely fluid and so far Zapper seems like an ideal alternative to the current chip and PIN system, especially if the restaurant you’re in is busy. Apple Pay will undoubtedly shake up the game when it arrives on our fair shores, but Zapper is far less picky about who can use it, with apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone already up and running.

Is the Zapper app safe for mobile payments?

For those wary of placing their trust in an alternative method of payment security, card details are saved locally on your device, and payments are then tied to your Zapper account via an encrypted verification system. Unlike EE’s Cash On Tap service, Zapper uses a direct link to your account; that means no having to top up a separate service with funds as and when you need them.

Zapper promo banner 1

How can I download the Zapper app to my iPhone, Android or Windows phone?

Just head to your phone’s app store and search for Zapper and it will pop right up. Get this downloaded and it’s ready to use.

First you’ll need to set up your profile, which includes your card details. With that done, all you need to do is pull out your phone when you want to pay, scan your code and you’re done.

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