More shoppers are now able to make payments with the help of their mobile phones, as Direct Debit scheme has unveiled an initiative to link banks and retailers. Vocalink runs the payment infrastructure in the UK.

On June 24, 2013, the company said that customers will be able to pay at the counter without a credit or debit card, by simply loading a mobile app. They will then need to scan a barcode or tap a reader with their phones. The service is known as the Zapp and is scheduled to launch sometime in mid-2014 at a development cost of £100 million.

Peter Keenan, chief executive of Zapp said, “This is one of those once-in-a-generation propositions – bringing on board acquirers, retailers, banks and customers”. The high-street banks, Vocalink’s owners, have also invested £16 million into Zapp and the organization is now looking for an outside investment in order to fund all the additional costs.

So far, mobile payments have mostly remained a technology of future with banks, start-ups launching rival initiatives and telecom companies. It is still not clear if any banks have committed to Zapp, while some seem to be surprised by the announcement of Vocalink. Zapp is not seeking to cut out acquirers such as Mastercard and Visa.