Big Interview: From PayQwiq to Tesco Pay+

When Tesco recently announced it was rebranding its mobile payments offering from PayQwiq to Tesco Pay+, the reaction from this writer (a regular user of the app) was, what took you so long?

Launched in 2015, and gradually rolled out across Tesco’s UK stores, PayQwiq always felt a bit too self-consciously quirky and off message. It was also very similar to cannabis payments business, PayQwick, but that’s another story altogether.

Group payments director, Mark Loch, insists customers responded very positively to PayQwiq. He adds that more and more are “paying in-store with their phone, and so by simplifying the proposition to Tesco Pay+, we are making it clear that Tesco has a leading solution to help make paying easier and more convenient. Our customers expect a quick, simple and secure payment journey in-store. This is exactly what Tesco Pay+ delivers.”

In terms of the main difference between PayQwiq and Tesco Pay+, the look and feel of the app has changed in line with Tesco branding. Customers can also collect one extra Clubcard point for every four pound spent with the grocery giant - although that offer only runs until 14th January 2018.

“The new branding enhances the customer experience while maintaining the simplicity that we know our customers love. In the coming months we will continue to improve the app for customers. Tesco Pay+ delivers a simple and fast checkout experience, a transaction limit up to £250 and automatic collection of Clubcard points in a single scan at the checkout,” says Loch.

There has been speculation that the rebrand could pave the way for a larger-scale revamp of the existing Clubcard app. But Loch is tight lipped on the subject. “The Tesco Pay+ and Clubcard apps complement eachother and are developed to enable customers to move between them seamlessly,” he states.

“We recognise that customers want shopping with us to be as simple as possible and we’ll continue to ensure that, as both apps develop, this continues to be the case. In July, we announced a host of improvements to Clubcard, including significant improvements to the app – including the ability for new customers to sign up to Clubcard straight away using the app, and existing customers accessing their vouchers at the checkout. “ 

Hundreds of thousands of customers have downloaded and use the app on a regular basis, whilst a transaction using Tesco Pay+ currently takes place every three seconds in a UK Tesco store. “I am very pleased with this so far and delighted we are seeing rapid progress on a week-by-week basis.” 

There are no defined trends as of yet. The perceived wisdom is that millennials skew towards mobile payments whilst older people are more wary as they cling to cards and cash.

But Lock claims customers across the demographic are actively using the app in all store formats. “We are very pleased with the uptake so far and feel it is representative of the broad range of customers that we are lucky to have at Tesco across the UK.”

Mobile mistakes

As mentioned earlier, I was a regular PayQwiq user. I tell Loch that I found the app useful but the customer experience varied from store to store. Sometimes there were no issues, other times it would not work at self-service and I had to seek assistance or give up and pay by card or cash. Has he been hearing this from other customers? “We are always focused on making the customer journey as simple as possible and we are continually looking to make improvements,” counters Loch. “On the whole we have found the customer feedback to be very positive but there are, of course, always opportunities to improve.”

Tesco Pay+ enters a crowded mobile payments market. For me, the appeal lies in the ability to pay for items and collect Clubcard points with one tap, thus doing away with the need to carry around two cards. The single transaction limit of £250 is also a huge improvement on the current contactless limit of £30. Tesco also offers contactless, Apple Pay etc. Is, then, Tesco Pay+ meant as a rival offering or is the aim simply to provide extra choice? “It is designed only with Tesco shoppers in mind, and that’s why Clubcard is so integral to the service. Therefore, we’re not drawing comparisons to other mobile payment services at this stage.”

So, with a high profile rebrand in the bag, what’s next? “Our focus is on providing a great service with our new Tesco Pay+ app so that more customers can benefit from the ease and convenience of paying with Tesco Pay+. We will continue to make improvements and central to doing so will be continuing to listen to our customers,” Loch concludes.

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