A guide to Apple’s upcoming wallet tech hitting the UK high street in July
APPLE PAY WILL LAUNCH IN THE UK in July and as the arrival edges ever closer, British retailers are preparing for what could change the way we shop as we know it.
But despite the iPhone being one of the UK’s most popular smartphones, many Brits aren’t even aware what Apple Pay is, or have even heard of it. In that vein, here’s our Apple Pay guide for those of you who might not have a clue, or have some unanswered questions of what it will mean for the UK when it hits the high street.
Cupertino’s bid to replace our wallets has already been a success in the US, with the firm’s CEO Tim Cook announcing back in January that out of every $3 spent using contactless payments in the county, a remarkable $2 was paid with Apple Pay since its launch in October 2014. Popular US chains such as Whole Foods saw a 400 percent increase in mobile payments since its launch, so its arrival in the UK is bound to shake up the British retail industry.
The service is Apple’s own spin on Near Field Communication (NFC), an open standard technology embraced by many other devices, in particular, Android phones that has never quite taken off. Well, not in the way that Apple Pay is expected to, anyway.
It is Apple’s mobile payment service that will let users make payments using the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones as well as the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and Apple Watch at cash registers in stores.
It has been designed to change the way people shop, by making the payment and checkout processes much simpler, and safer. Effectively, Apple wants people to replace their wallets with their iPhones.
The service works in a range of a few inches, and with one swipe of the phone over a contactless reader, it will issue the payment. However, users will need to have their finger on the Touch ID – Apple’s biometric fingerprint scanning home button sensor – to enable the payment. A subtle vibration and beep will confirm that the payment has cleared. Apple has confirmed that the iPhone’s display won’t even need to be on to do this.
To get the service up and running, users will need to link their credit and debit cards up to the Apple Passbook app so that Apple Pay can pull the required data to pay for whichever goods you are purchasing.
Users can also add their credit and debit card data to Passbook straight from their iTunes account to make it easier by entering their cards’ security codes.
The first card that is added will automatically become the default payment card, but this can be changed in the Settings option within the Passbook app if users are wanting to pay with a different card.
Apple Pay will launch in retail shops in July, with more locations accepting the service at UK launch than were accepted in the US at the original launch. There’s no official date yet, but keep checking back here for updates.
Well, not only will you need an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus to take advantage of Apple’s mobile payment service, but your bank or building society of which credit or debit card you are wanting to use will need to support it, too.
So far, First Direct, HSBC, NatWest, Nationwide Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank have all confirmed to be support the service from launch.
Other banks will be joining later in the autumn, including: Bank of Scotland, Coutts, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, MBNA, M&S Bank and TSB Bank.
Barclays is so far the only major UK bank to not confirm support for the service any time soon. This is most likely because it wants to push its own mobile payment service, Pingit, despite the numbers of people using it likely being miniscule in comparison to Apple Pay once it goes live.
Apple Pay has an API, so it isn’t just limited to physical retail locations. The service can also be applied within apps to make payments more secure. It will work in the following apps from launch: Addison Lee, Argos, Booking.com, British Airways, Dice, Domino’s, Five Guys, Hailo, Harris and Hoole, Hotels.com, Hungry House, Just Eat, Lastminute.com, Lufthansa, Miss Selfridge, Mr and Mrs Smith, Ocado, TheTrainline.com, Top10, Topshop, Uncover, Vueling, YPlan, Zalando, and Zara. More are to be confirmed.
Stores that accept the payment method will display an Apple Pay decal by the point of sale terminal. So far, popular UK high street stores that have announced they are accepting it include: Lidl, M&S, Post Office, Liberty, McDonalds, Boots, Costa, Waitrose, Pret, BP, Subway, Wagamama, Spar, KFC, Nando’s, New Look, Starbucks, Dune, and JD Sports.
However, there are bound to be thousands more, as Apple states on its FAQ page for merchants that: “If you accept contactless payment today, you’re likely able to accept Apple Pay without any changes.”
Those that are fans of using contactless payment for journeys on the London Underground will also be pleased to hear that Transport For London is one of the companies accepting Apple Pay, and that means you’ll soon be able to tap in and out of the London tube stations with Apple Devices.
Most UK retailers will stick to the current £20 contactless limit when Apple Pay arrives in the UK.
“The majority of terminals will work to a £20 cap, whether with a debit or credit card, or a contactless device,” a Mastercard spokesperson confirmed earlier this month.
While most will likely stick to the £20 limit, Visa has said that retailers have the option to accept payments of a higher value in the near future.
“The UK limit is £20 and will increase to £30 in September 2015. Transactions below this amount don’t require a CVM,” Apple said.
It’s more secure than contactless card payments because it requires the use of the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor during payment, meaning not any Tom, Dick or Harry could pick up your contactless bank card and go nuts making several £20 purchases before pretending it never happened.
It also means that there’ll be fewer queues in stores as the faster and more efficient payment method reduces time needed to input pins or get cards out of wallets. Customers are far more likely to have a phone to hand than a wallet, and far more likely to take better care of a smartphone than a bank card, so the chance of fraud is minimised.
Apple has promised that its Pay service is secure, and a fitting part of hardware that includes the “biggest advancements in iPhone history”, according to CEO Tim Cook.
To make it extra safe, Cook explained during a keynote announcement that transactions are just between the user, the merchant and the user’s bank, and Apple does not collect any purchase history. This means that when users are shopping in a store or restaurant Apple doesn’t know what they bought, where they bought it or how much they paid for it.
“Actual card numbers are not stored on the device. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is created, encrypted and stored in the Secure Element. The Device Account Number in the Secure Element is walled off from iOS and not backed up to iCloud,” the firm explained.