In a few months’ time, you’ll be able to pay in shops with your phone

A new mobile payments scheme, called Zapp is being picked up by some of the UK’s biggest high street retailers, including Asda, Best Western, Sainsbury’s and Thomas Cook. What does this mean for me and you?

Over the last 12 months, we've heard a lot about different schemes and technologies that will let us pay for goods in shops with our smartphones, but when exactly will we be able to do this? The answer to that question is sooner than you might expect.

Mobile payments will hit the UK in just a few months' time when a new service called Zapp is rolled out across the country early next year.

Designed by the same company behind LINK cashpoints, Zapp will be adopted by a number of well-known UK businesses, including Asda, Sainsbury's, Clarks, Best Western, Spar, Thomas Cook, Bravissimo, Littlewoods, Siemens and Dune.

You'll also be able to use Zapp to pay your water bill, with Anglian Water, Bristol Water, Wessex Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water also signing up for the scheme.

Here's how it works - you download the Zapp app onto your phone, which allows you to check your balance, choose different accounts to pay with and so on.

When you go to a shop, you can choose to pay by Zapp either by telling the cashier or pressing the relevant option on a self-service machine. You then log into the app and choose the account you want to pay from. It gives you a six digit code, which you or the cashier enters into the till, and the money is transferred immediately.

For lower value goods, it's possible to wiggle your phone over a reader without having to use the app, like you can with a contactless debit or credit card.

It feels like we may be on the point of mobile payments becoming mainstream. Apple - the biggest technology trendsetter around - has gone all in with Apple Pay, which lets you register your bank cards and pay for things in places like McDonald's with your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, for example.

However, you can only do that in the US at the moment. Zapp is what we'll have first over here, but as to whether it'll take off, only time will tell. Fortunately, we won't have to wait too much longer to find out.

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