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Apple Pay launch day: Here's why industry pros are excited

After months of news and updates about how it's faring across the pond in America, Apple Pay is finally coming to the UK (opens in new tab).

The mobile payment service has endured a somewhat rocky ride since its launch last year, with some people calling it a game-changer (opens in new tab) and others, whilst it was also being snubbed by US retailers (opens in new tab) and delayed by nervous UK bankers (opens in new tab).

What is for sure is that it is gaining momentum, happily riding the crest of a mobile payments wave as competitors such as Samsung (opens in new tab) rush to keep up.

Ahead of its official UK launch, various industry experts have offered their thoughts on how they think it will perform and what makes it such an exciting prospect for the Cupertino-based firm.

Oliver Jaeger,Vice President Global Marketing and Communications at e-Spirit (opens in new tab):

"The imminent launch of Apple Pay will mark the start of a new golden era for UK retailers. While mobile sales have grown over the last few years, almost doubling between 2013 and 2014, Apple’s consumer power will finally elevate mobile payments into the mainstream, giving mobile sales figures a strong boost.

"With millions of Apple iPhone, iPad and Watch users now able to safely and securely complete their transactions with one simple tap, 2015 will be the year mobile payments really take off in the UK.”

Sameet Gupte, Global Head of BFS & Managing Director for Europe, Virtusa (opens in new tab):

“We’ve already seen healthy uptake of Apple Pay in the US, with research showing that 40 per cent of iPhone 6 owners have used it at least once. I’d expect that it will be a similar story in the UK, with the potential for it to be even stronger; Apple Pay uses the same technology that contactless card readers do, so UK adoption could move faster than the US because the infrastructure is already in place to support it.

"Apple Pay also has the added advantage of using tokenisation technology, making it a much more secure payment solution. Not only that, but it will also be supported by more than 70 per cent of the credit and debit cards in the UK – so it has really has the potential to shake up the industry and move mobile payments towards the mainstream.”

“One bank that hasn’t signed up though is Barclays, which looks set to take Apple head-on in the payments game. Barclays has announced that it is introducing its own innovative payment solution, the bPay wristband, which can also be used by customers of other banks.

"One thing is certain, that the lines between banks, retailers and device manufacturers are becoming very blurred, which makes the payments space an interesting one to watch. With the introduction of tech like bPay, the incoming Samsung Pay later in the year, and Google’s Wallet – the race to own the mobile payments space is certainly hotting up.”

Dan Wagner, eCommerce veteran and CEO of Powa Technologies (opens in new tab):

“The launch of Apple Pay shows that consumer demand for mobile payments is rising and it will continue to rise. However, the platform has some constraints as it is only available to iPhone 6 and Apple Watch users and it relies on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. What shoppers really want is a ubiquitous solution which allows them to buy products anywhere, at anytime, from a range of mediums, using any digital device.

“The decision to only use NFC also drastically reduces the scope of its usage for retailers as they have to support NFC terminals. Apple Pay doesn’t support online shopping either - once again limiting what consumers can use it for.

“Despite Apple being an instantly recognisable brand, Apple Pay’s limitations mean it can only be seen as just another way to pay for things. To stand out in an already crowded market, new entrants should provide more than just a payments service. Many retailers don’t see a benefit in Apple Pay because they want a solution that will help them create an omni-channel sales offering, engage better with their customers and understand their shopping habits.”

Rich Wagner CEO and founder Advanced Payment Solutions (opens in new tab):

“Love them or hate them, Apple’s customer experience is best in class, and in my opinion, they have got to be the best collection of minds to crack the seamless, frictionless payment experience that consumers demand.

“The UK launch will boost the payments industry as a whole, but however cool the technology, it will take years to reach anything near mainstream adoption.

“However, it’s worth noting that Apple’s margins will be far lower in the UK than in the US, due to the huge discrepancy in interchange fee rates between the two continents.

"This reduces the commercial opportunity for Apple Pay (opens in new tab) in this market, so it will be interesting to see just how much focus they put on the UK to get this off the ground, compared to Stateside.”

Check out our Apple Pay hub (opens in new tab) for everything that businesses need to know

Image credit: Shutterstock/ (opens in new tab)Bloomua (opens in new tab)

Sam is Head of Content at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and has more than six years' experience as a reporter and content writer, having held the positions of Production Editor, Staff Writer, and Senior Business Writer at ITProPortal.