The Birmingham makers of a mobile app which allows customers to make payments by text message have agreed deals with two major national firms.
Chiltern Railways and Airparks are the first major companies to sign up to Droplet, which allows people to load money onto their phones and send payments for free.
The deals were unveiled at the technology firm’s London launch, and will see the payment platform used across Chiltern’s train network and Airpark’s dozens of airport parking locations.
The national deals build on an extremely positive beta trial in Birmingham, which has seen 2,500 users and 60 merchants adopt Droplet as a payment method.
Steffan Aquarone, who created the app alongside Will Grant in a Birmingham coffee shop, said the company’s vision is to change the way the world uses money.
He said: “We think that payments should be free because there are no actual costs involved in moving money around. The web is particularly good at de-bunking closed systems and Droplet leverages the power of the internet to do to payments what Skype did to international calls.
“We’ve proved it works with the trials in Birmingham, but if we are to continue the roll-out we need to attract the national retail chains and this is what we’ve been negotiating over the last couple of months.” He added: “Getting Chiltern Railways and Airparks on board is fantastic news and we are currently in discussions to agree further deals.”
Mr Aquarone said the company, which is based at Birmingham Science Park Aston, had the potential to become a global mobile currency for free trade without the banking sector “making a sneaky cut every step of the way”.
Both Airparks and Chiltern will be offering the mobile payment method to their customers by the end of April.
The two national firms had been won over by the boon of no transaction fees and the ability to build additional features into the App to increase brand loyalty, send out special offers and improve customer service.
Thomas Ableman, commercial director at Chiltern Railways, said: “At Chiltern Railways we’re keen on embracing new technology, but not simply for its own sake.
“Droplet solves a problem for us in the cost and limitations of credit card machines. All our staff have company phones, so we don’t need any extra hardware to start taking payment with Droplet across our business.”
Oliver Ashford of Airparks said: “When you’ve parked your car and you’re on the way to the airport, the last thing you want to do is phone our offices and read out credit card details, name, address and inside leg measurement.”
Mr Grant, chief technical officer at Droplet, revealed some new features of Droplet at the London launch.
The App will allow developers to build customised features for merchants so they can offer extra things, like dispatching virtual goods in seconds, or allowing customers to order without leaving their seats.
He said: “These tools bring about the true potential of mobile commerce and an end to the frustrating barriers people usually experience paying via mobile.”
Later in the Spring, the company will announce a funding round and begin a rollout to other major cities across the UK, including Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.