back to article Apple Pay's Brit biz bashed by banks planning to Zapp it out

Britain's biggest high street banks are launching their own digital payment services to fight off Apple's invasive Pay system. Cupertino's steady conversion of its eToy market dominance into the active, omnipresent control of the entire universe has found an opponent in yesteryear's foremost public enemies: the good old high …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coincidentally

    "Sainsbury, Asda, House of Fraser, Thomas Cook and Shop Direct"

    Five places I never shop at normally. Though as I don't have an iphone, Apple's offering is no more attractive.

  2. Big_Ted

    Sorry don't see the point

    Almost every one of the iPhone or other owners who might pay by NFC will already have a debit or credit card that does the pay by touch routine.

    Its my main method on small payments. What therefore is the point of having this on a phone ? Whenever I am in London and using transport just letting my card go through the gate system or touching it against a big button on a bus just works without the risk to my phone by tapping it against some object.

    Waste of time all round, just get a prepay card and use that if you are worried about it getting nicked.

    1. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: Sorry don't see the point

      I'm assuming you're trolling, but I'll bite.

      With the Apple Watch, Apple Pay really comes in to its own, as you don't need to even reach in to your pocket / handbag to get anything out to make a quick payment for a sandwich and bottle of water for example.

      Without the Watch, it's still faster (fewer steps, unless you keep loose credit cards in your pocket rather than in a wallet or purse) but there are also advantages such as when perhaps you want to pop out and grab a coffee, and leave your wallet behind at the office. Yes, you may forget your phone too, but then, I can't help you.

      There are several ways in which Apple Pay is more secure than an NFC card, so if you're concerned with security, you'd do better to use Apple Pay than the card - not only is the iPhone or Apple Watch useless for payments if it's stolen (unlike a credit card) but you also don't even need to get your cards cancelled or replaced if it IS stolen for some reason because of the tokenisation.

      And because of the tokenisation, the next time a businesses database gets hacked like so many have been you also won't be in any danger of being a victim.

      Not all of this is unique to Apple Pay. I'm sure that Google Wallet and maybe Zapp will incorporate some of these things too. But it's obvious that there are advantages, if you're willing to give it an honest look.

      Whether they matter to you are a personal choice as always.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Re: "it's still faster"

        I've not been given an NFC card, yet, but I'd assumed that I'd be able to just move my wallet towards the contactless payment terminal, without bothering to take the card out - does it not work like that? Obviously this wouldn't work with multiple contactless cards in one wallet, or one of the metal enclosures that the paranoid have, but I've seen plenty of people who keep their credit card in a holder with their mobile, too.

        1. Synonymous Howard

          Re: "it's still faster"

          In reality it's not as easy as that .. you have to hold it very close (basically touch) and hold it there for a couple of seconds. Still it is very good for simple daily transactions e.g. McDonalds, Lidl etc.

          And yes I have a metal (old business) card holder as my wallet but then I have had that for years, long before NFC was available ... it is simply smaller and less pocket bulk than a wallet ... plus it makes a great sound when you drop it.

        2. Paw Bokenfohr

          Re: "it's still faster"

          @ Lamont Cranston:

          Yes, you can just pay without taking the card out of the wallet, if you only have card and your wallet doesn't block the signal.

          However, with multiple NFC cards in my wallet (my credit card, a debit card for my account, a debit card for our joint account, an Oyster card) that doesn't work for me, obviously. It also doesn't work for my other half who only has one NFC card; even his leather wallet seems to be enough to block the signal.

          And yes, you could put one card in your phone case or something, or use bPay. For me, that's inferior in many ways; no way to chose between accounts (joint account / my own), limited by the £20 contactless limit (which will be lifted for Apple Pay later in the year), or for me the most important which is that it adds no tokenisation security which for me at least is the big advantage (having had my card numbers cloned / whatever twice in the past and it's a pain in the arse).

          YMMV as always - this isn't for everyone - nobody's going to buy an iPhone to get it - not everyone will get any utility out of it - some people will be confused by it - but over all this looks to be a good service for me so I'll give it a go and see what happens.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry don't see the point

        So it only works well if I spend another several hundred pounds, at least I'd get a free watch.

        1. Paw Bokenfohr

          Re: Sorry don't see the point

          @ AC: "So it only works well if I spend another several hundred pounds, at least I'd get a free watch."

          I suspect you're deliberately misunderstanding and being sarcastic, but, no it works very well without the Apple Watch too. Without the watch, though, you have to reach in to your pocket to get your iPhone out, so it's best with the watch.

          But I'd argue this is still quicker or at least as quick as getting your wallet out and getting the card out of it to pay with, and as quick as if you happen to only have one card and happen to keep that loose in your pocket, but you don't get any of the additional benefits that Apple Pay brings.

          For me it's mostly about the tokenisation as every place you use it at makes your card being cloned less likely as it's not possible to clone your card from the details a merchant's system has when you use Apple Pay. I'm less bothered about the <10 seconds per transaction it'll save me (considering I do <1 transaction per day).

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Sorry don't see the point

        "With the Apple Watch"

        That's fscking big investment for a seconds worth of convenience though.

        1. Paw Bokenfohr

          Re: Sorry don't see the point

          @ John Brown (no body): "That's fscking big investment for a seconds worth of convenience though."

          Please see my other responses for longer form - I'm not being dismissive here, just already typed it out a couple times, but basically you don't need the watch, it's still better than the current situation without it it's just even better with the watch, and it's really not the convenience that is the big selling point, it's the additional security that's the important thing for me at least.

          I agree, nobody is going to buy the watch or an iPhone to get this. Just as nobody would buy an Android phone to get Google Now or GooglePay, but if you already have the hardware, it's an nice additional feature which could save you a lot of hassle in avoiding your card getting cloned.

          And what's the alternative anyway? Leave payment systems unchanged forever? Never add any additional features to any phones because some people won't find a use for them or won't like them? Never develop or release new hardware like wearables because some people don't want to buy them / don't have a use for them?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry don't see the point

      Because a phone has a screen and a fingerprint reader, whereas I can charge your unprotected NFC card from across a crowded room?

      Oh no, sorry - I can't do that as my NFC scanner "meets the required specifications" which is 5cm or closer...

    3. localzuk

      Re: Sorry don't see the point

      I've only just received an NFC credit card, and my debit card isn't due to be replaced until the end of next year so no NFC on that.

      I have had an NFC enabled phone for 3 years though.

      I currently pay for my monthly bus ticket entirely on my phone - I use PingIt to pay for a month ticket and then just wave my phone at the bus driver.

      I kinda also want to be able to get rid of all the other cards and bits of paper that clutter up my pockets also...

    4. Alex Bailey

      Re: Sorry don't see the point

      I'll bite too... my Nationwide debit card currently does not have NFC (and the card has another two years before it expires) so this gives me the feature without having to go through the trouble of getting a replacement card.

      I do also shop at enough places that are on board that it will save me time. I already pay at Starbucks using their card and the passbook app on my watch (though my local branch only have the scanner working at the drive-thru window) and I'm more than happy to not have to fumble around in my pockets for cash or card, more so at the drive thru.

      I also like the fact that the feature on my watch is only turned on when I want to use it so no danger from these folks we keep hearing about who can wander around scanning people's pockets!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry don't see the point

        If you call Nationwide and say you want a contactless enabled card they will send you one, no need to wait for it to expire.

  3. Mike Bell

    No thanks, Zapp

    I don't want my payment history pored over by supermarkets. That's why I never use loyalty cards.

    And Barclays' offering, with its custom bracelets and stick-on NFC tags is a complete and utter joke. They're starting to get desperate, flooding the London Underground with ads ahead of next Tuesday's Apple Pay UK launch.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: No thanks, Zapp

      "I don't want my payment history pored over by supermarkets. That's why I never use loyalty cards."

      That's Tinfoilhattery. Do you use cash or plastic then? Cheques?

      The supermarket chain I have a loyalty card enables me to browse my shopping receipts on the their web service. The warranty receipts are also stored in the account. All these available on my smart phone, too. When there have been product recalls the chain has contacted the buyers directly. What's wrong with that?

      And no, I'm not anywhere near Britannia.

      1. Mike Bell

        Re: No thanks, Zapp

        Since you ask, I use cash a lot of the time. I don't believe I have a chequebook any more. If I have one, I've no idea where it is.

        If you enjoy being analysed by marketers, that's your privilege. Good luck to you. Personally, I detest being targeted. For example, I made the mistake of recently looking up reviews on Leica's new model Q camera. Now, a load of sites I visit pester me with ads for that camera.

        I will use Apple Pay for regular small purchases like coffee at the train station. I'm led to believe that you do get a receipt of recent transactions in your phone's 'wallet'.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: No thanks, Zapp

          "I use cash a lot of the time."

          There's the difference. I haven't really bothered with cash for the last 15 years or so.

          "If you enjoy being analysed by marketers, that's your privilege."

          "Now, a load of sites I visit pester me with ads for that camera."

          The sites would just shower you with some irrelevant ads then. Me? I block 'em.

          As an example, while I'm listening to music on Youtube/Spotify I am not at all bothered with their recommendations of similar music - I've actually found something interesting from time to time.

          I believe there's a difference with websites and tracking cookies, and brick'n'mortar marketing. I couldn't care less what the supermarket thinks of my regular shopping there.

      2. NotTellinYou

        Re: No thanks, Zapp

        LOL...I'm in the business and it's NOT "Tinfoilhattery" we have petabytes of information on people, likely you included. It's not just your transactions with a retailer, but using your credit card, we match to the various data brokers such as Experian who are more than happy to sell and additional 700+ attributes about you and your family. We then take your social media info, you did use the same email address right, add to this your cell phone company is VERY happy to sell your location data, with the totality of it all being a pretty crazy file on you.

  4. David Glasgow

    Pingit and Zapp

    I wonder how much they paid what nobs to come up with such toe-curlingly bad names?

    They inspire images of light hearted, trivial, 'let's hope this works' kind of financial transactions.

    I much prefer the staid, boring reliable and secure kind.

    1. Jonathan 29

      Re: Pingit and Zapp

      I am not sure Zapp will be the consumer name. The current branding logo is Pay By Bank.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pingit and Zapp

        I suspect if they do call it Zapp, they'll have Zapper's lawyers on the blower pretty sharpish.

  5. Arachnoid
    Thumb Down

    Nope never

    Im not a fan of any touch payment system thats not at least got some form of two factor authentication.Waiting for someone to invent a Costco stealing app that just purloins small amounts on money from everyone that passes a dummy terminal

  6. Jonathan 29

    Zapp could be great

    Zapp is owned and run by Vocalink which manages Faster Payments and all your wages and bank transactions. Zapp just makes it possible to pay in real time a shop directly from your bank just as if you had setup a payment online. That means no fees for you and no fees for the merchant. Apple Pay obviously has lots of fees that have to be paid and lots of potential chargeback issues.

    The only downside to Zapp as I can see is that are relying on banks to roll it out using ther own apps which may be highly inconsistent and confusing for consumers.

  7. David Lawton

    Barclays twitter feed was a flood of complaints when they were not including in the list of banks supporting Apple Pay. If Barclays don't sign on by Christmas I'm going to change to a bank that supports it. I don't want a phone full of endless payment apps, just 1 system on my phone. Plus Apple Pay supports the watch too. Android users will have Google Wallet. Its a lot neater and better experience for the user that its NOT done by the banks and shops, 1 function of the phone for payment is a lot neater.

    1. Arachnoid

      Serously?

      Why would the banks even comtemplate giving a penny of their profits to Apple its just not good buisness sense and as for one rules them all we know what happens when competition is absent.

    2. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      I guess I could if I tried really hard, care less about banks flopping, or not flopping into bed with Apple. Still it is just not worth the effort. Barclaycard offered me the chance to opt out of 'travel by bonk' an option I was happy to accept within seconds of getting the notification. OK it possibly helps that I have few transactions that are less than £20, never use putrid transport and do not visit coffee shops. In the unlikely event of needing to spend a few £s I carry a few crinkly bits of paper or some of those round, or semi round metal disk things. Not because they are untraceable but because they are easier than cards for small payments.

      My mobile phone sits in an inside pocket and is only ever used hands free, I do not need a transportable minicomputer. Why pay out a fortune on something that would be useless and inferior to what I have at the moment?

      1. localzuk

        You really are an anachronism Richard Jones 1. I know OAPs who use smart phones and love them.

        However, if being stuck in 1980 works for you, fair enough. A lot of us want to make things more convenient!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          " if being stuck in 1980 works for you, fair enough. A lot of us want to make things more convenient!"

          From what I remember, 1980 was relatively secure. Convenience is typically the opposite of security. Two sides to every, er, whatever (memory's fading with age...).

  8. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Coat

    Pay by bonk?

    I don't have a use case.

    If I'm paying, irrespective of the amount, I want an authorisation from me to do it.

    The purported benefit of 'easier, faster' is a benefit only for those who don't care how much money is left in their account; shop shop shop wheeeeee!

    No thanks.

    Endit.

    (The flameproof one, thanks).

    1. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: Pay by bonk?

      Apple Pay does require that authorisation from you, either in the form of you holding the Touch ID sensor while holding the iPhone to the payment terminal, or, by double-clicking the button on the Apple Watch (which has be pre-authorised when you put it on your wrist, and hasn't been off your wrist since) and holding it next to the payment terminal.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    authorisation

    So how do you authorise your payment by cash? Someone needs to steal your wallet to pay by cash and pretty much the same to pay by bonk. I use it now and then, you have to stick your card pretty much right on the reader, max spend is £20, no routing through your wallet to find cash, no change to stick in your pocket and no waiting for the till operator to work out how much change to give you, also it appears on your bank statement so that unlike cash you know what you have spent on what. I didn't think I would use it but actually its pretty useful.

  10. Matt_payne666

    Looks Like im the minority

    but I like contactless pay... yes, somone may be able to empty my account of £20 if they press a card scanner hard into my groin... but I'm willing to take that chance...

    As for the UK banks not embracing Apple Pay - this I am very in favour of... there needs to be a relatively open standard, I just wish the banks would agree on one and just open it up to any phone/device that meets the necessary security standard...

    Apple and Facebook are to prevalent in sectors that they don't need to be, while I'm no prude I don't like the idea of one man standing there with his finger on the kill switch for something. (its not quite the same, but on a whim apple servers were no more)

    1. Captain Queeg

      Re: Looks Like im the minority

      Depending on who it is pressing against you groin, £20 may be excellent value!

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Apple Pay IS an open standard

      Apple Pay is EMV. Same standard the new cards will use soon enough (maybe EMV cards are already shipping in the UK/EU, but AFAIK they are not yet in the US)

      The bank's app will presumably implement EMV also, but it will be LESS secure on an iPhone, because it won't use the secure element to store the credit card info like Apple Pay does. I see ZERO reason any iPhone owner would ever use the bank's app - if they want to pay by phone they'd rather use Apple Pay since it is already built in. Plus it doesn't share the purchase data with the retailer - not sure if the same can be said about the banks' solution, but I'll bet at least some banks will share the data with at least some retailers. If they don't want to pay by phone they won't use the bank app either.

      Once the new Android Pay thing that also implements EMV is available, the same will be true for Android phones as far as "why should an Android owner use the bank app instead of Android Pay which is already installed?"

      The banks' effort is destined to fail in the UK just like CurrenC will fail in the US.

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: Apple Pay IS an open standard

        They'll still have the banks own app on their phone to check balance, see if pay has gone in yet etc...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Being Prepared....

    There will surely be scammers out there armed with NFC readers hoping to slurp up all sorts of nice and profitable data from the unwary especially in crowded places like... The Tube, Pubs, Coffee Shops etc.

    A nice RFID blocking wallet is my solution to the problem. I have a similar cover for my passport.

    Be careful out there. In some resptects the simpler life in the 1980's was better.

  12. Arachnoid

    Just a reminder

    You can read the contacless card from meters away just becasue you scrap it across the reciver doesnt mean its not possible.Secondly RFID blockers need earthing to work effectivly so unless your dangling a cable to the ground from your pocket they are a waste of money.

    1. stewwy

      Re: Just a reminder

      Wrong, sorry, they should be looked at as a Faraday cage, which does not need an earth, unless they're not a faraday cage, in which case they wont work :-)

  13. Dan Paul

    Cash.....

    Cash..it's real, hard to steal from my pocket and I don't have to figure if it's "compatible".

    Until they make it impossible to obtain cash, that's what I will use for small purchases at less than respectable places.

    Otherwise credit and debit still work fine and there is no need to change; especially to give Apple even one red cent of my money.

    IMHO, NFC (on your phone) is still a solution looking for a problem.

    1. Ali 4

      Re: Cash..... and cheque!

      I pay the Coal man by cheque (he won't accept anything else), the firewood is also paid by cheque, and the pub only takes cash. The local shop takes credit and debit cards but you have to pay 50p extra for the privilege due to the banks charging them.

      I suspect when I get my new debit card at the end of this year it will sadly be NFC enabled, and I'll investigate where to drill a hole in it to disable the aerial.

      Not everyone lives in London, not everyone uses Public Transport (there isn't any where I live, and yes, I do live in the UK), and not everyone buys those disgusting overpriced 'Barista' coffees tasting of mud. As for my phone, I'm likely to forget to take it with me when I go out. Unlike most people these days, I don't see the need to be plugged in 24/7. Not that I would be if I took it with me, around here we're lucky if we get a 2G signal let alone mobile data.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Does NFC need coverage or is it all local?

        "around here we're lucky if we get a 2G signal let alone mobile data."

        Today I travelled by car from Birmingham to Chester. As I often do. It's not inside the M25, but the route is on the M6 and M56. Today, like most days, there was almost no 3G coverage outside Birmingham (O2 and EE networks) and there were even patches of no cover at all, not even GSM.

        Aren't market forces wonderful.

  14. Saint Sound

    Too little too late Barclays

    i see that they've just tossed out their Chief Executive. Why would they wait until Apple makes a big song and dance about their new payment system and Google gets ready to introduce their new system and then say you don't need them and we won't let you use them because we'll have something better soon.

    I don't even have a Apply Pay compatible iPhone yet but I'm happy to ditch Barclays if they insist on their way only!

    1. Super Fast Jellyfish

      Re: Too little too late Barclays

      You do realise that he wasn't fired because they weren't implementing applepay?

      What was sneaky was announcing it on budget day

  15. NotTellinYou

    Make no mistake!

    It's ALL about the DATA! Don't be fooled but the other BS reasons.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    NFC and Phone payment

    I can't see any reason that I as a non-Apple hardware owner would want the Apple payment system - there is no urgency for NFC and no need for phones to use it. Handy for some, yes but not for everyone. All my cards can do NFC but not my phone and although I could use my phone that way I dont want to.

    By the way any one who claims the 1980s was better didn't live it or has a remarkably poor memory. Security was obviously better in the pre-industrial era when al the electronic stuff didnt exist -not that I would want to be there as a consequence.

    1. Vic

      Re: NFC and Phone payment

      By the way any one who claims the 1980s was better didn't live it or has a remarkably poor memory.

      I have some fantastic memories of the '80s. My life might be more comfortable now, but not nearly as much fun...

      Vic.

  17. Gordo2
    WTF?

    Hardly original

    From looking at Zapp's toe-curlingly bad web site (written in marketing speak), it doesn't appear to be intended for face to face transactions but online ones. Apparently if I click on a link on a web site it will open the app on my phone to make the payment - a neat trick considering I use any number of computers and web browsers. And to use my bank's app I need a separate secure code generating token (which I don't carry with me), so it's hardly convenient.

    It looks like yet another 'me too' payment system that's looking for a purpose. I tried Barclay's Pingit system, but every time I tried to use it I had to make a twenty minute phone call to their offshore call centre to have everything reset and reinitialised, with number long numerical codes sent by text (which were too long for the preview on my phone) and by switching to the message to read it, for security, the whole registration process had to start again... I lost the will to live and gave up - although the call centre cannot close or cancel your account: you need to go to a branch to do that. If there's one near you.

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