Apple Pay now available in the UK

Today is the day Apple launches its Apple Pay service in the UK, allowing people to pay for things using nothing but their iPhones.

The digital wallet has no PIN codes or additional authentication protocols – users just wave their iPhone over a contactless card reader. In the start, the limit for a single purchase is £20, but Apple plans on raising the limit to £30 in September.

Higher value transactions will be possible when retailers and merchants upgrade their payment terminals.

Apple Pay is supported by all major banks in the UK, with the exception of Barclays which has not yet signed up for the service and, in a late twist, HSBC, which was originally signed up to the service.

The contactless payment service was slow to pick up in the States, but Apple expects better results in the UK, and rightfully so.

According to a recent report, the British are the biggest users of contactless payment tech. Contactless payment cards have been used more than a billion times in Europe in the past 12 months, with the total contactless spending over the year at £9 billion, Visa Europe recently reported.

UK customers are leading the European contactless payment charge, the report says, with British shoppers spending €330m (£234m) in March across 52.6m transactions using contactless payments.

In March, Transport for London (TfL) said it was the fastest growing contactless Visa merchant in Europe, six months after it was launched on buses, tubes and trains. The contactless payment works using the Near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows the shopper to pay by touching their card on the payment terminal.