Zapp: pre-launch momentum builds, Znap growth appears pedestrian

So now we know that Zapp has signed up another payment service provider in the form of Elavon. Added to existing payment partners WorldPay, SagePay, Optimal Payments and Realex, Zapp can now claim to have thousands of merchants and millions of checkouts on board, writes Douglas Blakey

So now we know that Zapp has signed up another payment service provider in the form of Elavon. Added to existing payment partners WorldPay, SagePay, Optimal Payments and Realex, Zapp can now claim to have thousands of merchants and millions of checkouts on board, writes Douglas Blakey

The payment service providers will integrate Zapp into their payment systems and will assist in rolling out Zapp to UK consumers by the end of the year.

Zapp had previously announced that four UK lenders – HSBC (including First Direct), Santander, Metro Bank and Nationwide – are on board and will integrate Zapp into their existing mobile banking applications, providing real-time mobile payments between consumers and merchants, both online and in-store, without the need for a digital wallet or new app.

At the first live of debate of the year for The Digital Banking Club, Justin Basini, chief product and marketing officer at Zapp was one of a high powered panel and, as one might expect, he was in bullish form about Zapp’s prospects.

Basini is an eloquent evangelist for Zapp: he advances the strong argument that Zapp will form a part of the banks’ own m-banking apps and sit safely behind the banks’ authentication layer.

What, though of Zapp rivals already up and running?

Take the similarly named Znap, for example. I would really like to see Znap make a go of it, and not just because it is the firm which hosted the most enjoyable of press days away last year when it launched last year.

Unlike the UK-based Zapp, Znap has global ambitions and has been looking to ink deals around the world, targeting well known high street brands and major retailers.

A glance at the Google Play store stats does not seem to make very cheery reading. Since launch, Znap has only been downloaded between 1,000 and 5,000 times.

At first glance then, Znap is not exactly flying off the Google Play shelves. And then there is the QR code aspect. If a user wants to pay a bill, they can scan a QR code; they will then receive the option of how much to pay and when.

Znap offers the facility to integrate with any POS using a simple API, sending the QR code through a secure server in the cloud.

But when was the last time you felt the need to pay via QR code? A straw poll of colleagues in the editorial floor of Timetric – hands up how many of you want to use QR codes to make a payment – resulted in very few hands in the air.

And there remains the challenge of requiring mobile data or wifi connectivity. The writer made a rare if pained saunter around one of the larger shopping centres in Essex the other day, equipped with the most up to date Samsung Galaxy handset sporting 4G connectivity.

Attempting to obtain mobile connectivity in a number of the stores was not worth the effort. A similar attempt was made in Dubai airport; the wifi connection was hit and miss.

Zapp’s ambitions appear credible; as for Znap’s aim to be "globally ubiquitous": I am sorry to say that I remain sceptical.