Apple Pay goes live across the UK

Apple Pay launches in the UK
NEW ERA: Arrival of Apple Pay in the UK will bring big changes to UK payments market

Apple Pay is now live across the UK, enabling consumers with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch devices to make NFC mobile payments at more than 250,000 locations and across the Transport for London (TfL) bus and underground rail network.

Some merchants — including fast food chain Pret A Manger — are accepting Apple Pay transactions over the current £20 contactless limit and as many as 80% are expected to support high-value mobile payments by the end of 2015.

Customers of six banks — MBNA, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank — can load their debit and credit cards into Apple Pay from today.

American Express is also supporting the service from today but HSBC and First Direct, which were expected to be among the first to launch, will follow “in the coming months” alongside Halifax, Lloyds and TSB.

M&S Bank is also now listed as “coming soon” and Barclays has confirmed to NFC World that it will support Apple Pay in the future.

“Apple Pay is compatible with any of the 2.6m contactless terminals in Europe,” says Visa Europe. “It is designed to work contactlessly with payments of any amount using Touch ID to verify the cardholder.

“The number of UK businesses that accept high-value mobile payments — over the £20 contactless threshold — in their stores is still growing and Visa expects that many more shops and restaurants will make the necessary software upgrades. By the end of the year, more than 80% of contactless terminals will accept payments of any value made with Apple Pay and other mobile contactless services.”

“We’re looking forward to customers trying out Apple Pay for the first time in one of our shops,” says Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret A Manger.

“We were one of the first UK retailers to offer contactless payment and today half of all card payments at Pret are contactless. We’re delighted to make paying even more convenient for many with the introduction of Apple Pay, including payments over £20.”

Seismic shift

“Consumer demand for mobile contactless payments combined with the fact that 70% of people in the UK own a smartphone means that the pieces of the puzzle are coming together for a seismic shift from plastic to digital,” says Jeremy Nicholds, executive director of mobile at Visa Europe.

“With today’s launch of Apple Pay, it is clear that mobile solutions will fast become a preferred way to store and use a credit or debit card.”

“Innovation in UK payments means it’s fast becoming the most advanced market in the world and the arrival of Apple Pay heralds this new era,” adds Mark Barnett, president of MasterCard in the UK and Ireland.

“We will see more change in the next five years than we’ve seen in the last 50, bringing even more convenience and security for consumers.”

Apple Pay currently works with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and all Apple Watch models. For payments through mobile apps, the service is also compatible with iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 devices.

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