Mobile Payment Apps

7th May 2014

Mobile banking and money transfer has still not quite achieved the delicate balance of ease of use and safety of service. There is a reluctance by many to download the necessary apps or input personal information like bank details or names and addresses. With the release of new systems and apps however, we could be on the brink of a mobile payment revolution.

Mobile Payment

The recently launched Paym scheme looks to be a turning point for how we think about mobile payment. All major banks have included (or will include) a Paym option in their own mobile apps which allows users to pay people by entering their phone number. Once registered, you simply need to type in a recipients number to be able to transfer money. This cuts out the need to ask for account numbers and sort codes, and as Paym is embedded within your banking app, it means that payments can be made securely.

For a closer look at how Paym work, take a look at this video and news article by the BBC.


This could really push mobile payments into large scale usage as the simplicity could attract those that don’t currently use the system. Alternatively, if this doesn’t prompt people to use mobile payment then it’s difficult to know what will.

Contactless Payment

We could maybe see a widespread adoption of contactless payment in the UK too. There has been an indication that consumers are willing to pay for goods using mobile apps as Starbucks’ in house app has 10 million users. By downloading the app to their phone, customers can hold up their screen to a scanner which then deducts the cost of their coffee from their virtual wallet. This must be topped up, but if there are funds available in the account, payment is made much quicker.

Early Adoption

Imperial College London has become the first University in the UK to implement mobile payment in their retail and food outlets. The app Yoyo allows students to top up their accounts and scan the QR code on screen to deduct the amount from their Yoyo account. The appeal for people using these apps is not just about speed and ease of use, but also the benefits they receive from retailers. Offers and rewards are helping to promote the method of payment, but what will really encourage people to adopt these type of transactions will be one or two widely used apps.

The Future 

At present there are not enough popular apps and those that do want to use contactless payment are spread across a number of different apps. Once one or two apps strike the balance between safety and usability and come to the forefront then we may see more people trusting mobile apps as a payment method. There are even predictions that contactless payment could make its way to the wearable market too. Fancy paying for a coffee with your smartwatch, or a few nods of the head to transfer money with Google Glass? It could be here sooner than you’d think.