Vocalink, a London-based payments provider, is launching a new company called Zapp, which enables consumers to make real-time payments with their mobile device by linking their mobile phone number to a bank account.

Zapp's system is designed to speed up the payment process and keep account details hidden. The system will also allow users to check their account balances before making a mobile purchase.

Zapp plans to release its offering to merchants and financial institutions by yearend, and U.K. consumers will be able to use the service by early 2014.

"We are proud to be collaborating with financial institutions and retailers to spearhead the creation of a new payment system, which gives all of us easy access to the money in our bank accounts by using cutting-edge, secure technology through the mobile phone," says David Yates, CEO of Vocalink, in a June 25 press release. "The U.K. financial system has a rich history of speeding up the movement of money and Zapp is the next evolution."

Zapp will be a separate, independent subsidiary with a separate board and governance , Vocalink says.

Zapp will have competition in the U.K. Barclays recently introduced Buyit, a mobile payment feature that allows consumers to scan QR codes from in-store advertisements, in magazines or online. Buyit is part of Barclay's Pingit person-to-person money transfer application, which also links a customer's bank account to a mobile phone.

Vocalink processed more than 10 billion payments in 2012 with a value of more than 4.5 trillion pounds. The company processes more than 90% of U.K. salaries and more than 70% of all household bills.

Vocalink created the Faster Payments Service, which allows real-time payments.  First Data began using the system in September to speed up funds transfers in Australia. 

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