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October 13, 2014updated 04 Apr 2017 4:05pm

Tesco trials PowaTag in London store

The in-store mobile payments app PowaTag is being trialled at a London Tesco Metro store for a week beginning 13 October, including two days of promotional giveaways, writes Billy Bambrough

By Billy Bambrough

The in-store mobile payments app PowaTag is being trialled at a London Tesco Metro store for a week beginning 13 October, including two days of promotional giveaways, writes Billy Bambrough

PowaTag is offering 1,000 hungry London workers a free Tesco Meal Deal worth £3 ($5) on 13 and 14 October between the hours of 12pm and 2pm.

The Dean Street store in Soho was chosen for its very high customer throughput, according to Powa spokesperson Matt Brown.

"This week’s event is a pilot for Tesco to see how well PowaTag performs before they decide how to move forwards," Brown added.

PowaTag requires users to enter their card information into the app which is then used through the device to make payments, via NFC, QR code or audio activation.

Powa Technologies valued itself at $2.7bn earlier in the year after it acquired struggling rival Znap, the sole product of MpayMe for 3% of its stock.

At the time of the acquisition when asked about the number of app users Powa will gain from MpayMe directly, Powa CEO Dan Wagner told EPI: "Znap would have needed a huge amount of money to market to and build up a consumer base. Powatag is in a very different position."

Similarly, though Powatag has very little current userbase on the highstreet. According to Wagner, only one merchant, fasion boutique Comptoir Des Cotonniers in Paris, has gone live with the app, out of 500 who have signed up.

The supermarkets are seen a big hurdle for mobile based payments to overcome, without which wide spread adoption will be difficult.

Vocalink-owned Zapp has signed up UK supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Asda to use the mobile banking app incorporated Zapp when it launches in mid-2015. Unlike PowaTag, users of Zapp will transfer money directly from their bank account to the merchant, skipping the need for a physical credit or debit card.

Zapp is a mobile app allowing real-time payments to be processed using tokenisation and is set to be launched mid-2015.

Wagner said he hopes to float Powa Technologies eventually though he is unlikely to sport a Donald Duck waistcoat to any pre-float photo call after he previously wiped 10p off a company’s share price through his wardrobe choice.

PowaTag has approached GlaxoSmithKline, Kellogg’s and John Lewis to feature its tags on their advertisements.

The PowaTag app is available on iOS and Android.

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