Apple Pay is the American tech company’s take on contactless payment, and after a fairly tedious start in the States, has made its way to the UK this week.
The service was officially unveiled last September as the iPhone maker's long-awaited entry into the burgeoning mobile payments market. Apple chief executive Tim Cook said more than one million credit cards were registered to the service within three days, which he claimed made it the largest mobile payment system to date. The NFC-powered method came baked in with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for contactless payments, as well as the recently released Apple Watch.
Starting today, more than 250,000 shops across the UK will accept payment through Apple Pay, together with Transport for London (TfL) on its Tube, bus and rail networks.
Basically all major banks in the UK support Apple Pay, with the exception of Barclays, which is still working out a few kinks with Apple. Santander, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland customers are among the first to be able to use their accounts with Apple Pay from the launch, while Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland account holders will have to wait until the autumn. HSBC and First Direct will join later this month.
We also have a short tutorial on how to set up your Apple Pay on this link.
Paying using the Watch or an iPhone is simple - all you need to do is hold the device within an inch of the contactless reader, and keep your finger at the Touch ID, without actually pressing it.
Even though Apple hasn’t had quite a stellar success with mobile payments in the States, fairly different results are expected in the UK, where contactless payments have gained serious traction.
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.
The current limit is set at £20, the same as NFC payments, but Apple hopes to increase the limit to £30 in September.
For a demonstration of Apple Pay being used on the Apple Watch and on the iPhone, watch our video on how to use Apple Pay with iZettle.