Apple pay hits the UK


July 2015

Apple pay hits the UK

Apple pay is the latest contactless payment method that can be used in the United Kingdom. This system allows customers to use their iPhones in place of their debit or credit card, simply by holding it over the contactless reader.  Apple Pay is available on iPhone 6, 6s and Apple Watch and can be used to pay for purchases of up to £20 - the same limit as on all contactless cards.

This new release is the first time that Apple Pay has been available in any country outside of the USA. This payment system has been available since October in the United States. This follows the huge popularity of contactless payment cards across the UK and the rest of Europe. Most major banks now offer cards that don't require a PIN entry and instead can simply be tapped on a reader.

One of the benefits of Apple Pay is that it requires your fingerprint as a form of identification in order to be able to make a purchase. This means that it offers more security than contactless cards because these cards do not require any form of ID or security number.

Most of the major banks in the UK are using the payment system but there are some exceptions. NatWest, Nationwide, RBS, Santander and Ulster Bank are all now part of the Apple Pay movement. HSBC and First Direct are to be introduced towards the end of July, with a second wave to follow soon which will see the Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, M&S and TSB become part of the scheme. Barclays are not yet involved and are assumed to still be negotiating how much of cut Apple will receive from each transaction.

There are many different retailers that are now accepting Apple Pay as a form of payment. This includes the various retailers that already accept contactless payment cards. Apple Pay can also be used to make online purchases from companies such as Addison Lee, Domino's, British Airways, EasyJet and many more. If you want to pay online with Apple Pay, it will operate in a similar way to PayPal on Samsungs - you use your fingerprint to pay instead having to enter any personal details or security information.

Payments made on Apple Pay will be subject to the same £20 limit that applies to contactless card payments. This limit is set to be raised to £30 transactions in September 2015. It is thought that Apple Pay will actually be able support larger payments than this but Apple need to improve their system before this can happen.

The UK is one of the biggest users of contactless payments in the world, with debit cards and credit cards. The number of these contactless payments has gone up by over 250% last year, with 58 million different cards currently in use.  Other methods of payment such as PayPal and EE's cash on tap service have failed to draw as much attention or popularity. The same is true for companies such as Google and Samsung who also have services like Apple Pay.  There is chance that the introduction of Apple Pay, which has had considerably more publicity, could make users more aware of smartphone payments.