Independent businesses in Norwich get behind new phone payment technology

PUBLISHED: 09:38 19 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:40 19 July 2014

The Norwich Lanes, where independent businesses are getting behind the Droplet app, which enables customers to pay for goods using their mobile phones.

The Norwich Lanes, where independent businesses are getting behind the Droplet app, which enables customers to pay for goods using their mobile phones.

Archant Norfolk

Independent businesses in the Norwich Lanes have thrown their weight behind a new app that allows customers to pay using their mobile phones.

About 1,000 people across the city are already using the Droplet software, which gives shops a way of receiving money without being hit by transaction fees.

The concept was created by Norfolk-born entrepreneur Steffan Aquarone, who launched the digital start-up after getting a £1m cash-injection from wealthy backers.

Mr Aquarone, 30, said more than 25 businesses in the Norwich Lanes are now accepting payment through the app, despite only launching the software two months ago.

And while he is adamant that it is a safe way to spend, he accepts that it may take some people time to get used to the idea of buying products on their mobile phone. “We came to this thinking how can we make something better using the power of the web,” he added. “We thought we could help improve the way people transfer money using technology in a way that the banks were unlikely to do.

“The reason it came to Norwich was because I was born and bred here and went to Norwich School.

“And already I am finding that when I am out there is a strong chance I will see someone paying with Droplet, whether it is the person in front of me in the queue, or the person behind.”

As well as paying for goods, the free app also allows people to transfer money between friends, or leave messages for a shop after a purchase has been made.

Jonty Young, marketing manager for the Norwich Lanes, said the district was getting a lot of attention from cities across the UK that want to bring in the same levels of community and creativity.

Speaking about Droplet, he said: “The fact that businesses do not have to pay any fees for payment when using this app is extraordinary – it is definitely the way forward when it comes to payment.”

Businesses accepting Droplet payments in the Norwich Lanes include the Birdcage pub, The Grosvenor Fish Bar and Strangers Coffee Bar.

Lauren Gregory, landlady of The Birdcage, added: “Droplet has been absolutely amazing for us. It seems the one thing that everyone carries around with them at all times is their mobile phone and we are witnessing new customers using this app on a weekly basis.”

Do you have a business story for the Evening News? Contact business writer Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email

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