Apple Pay launches in the UK

Customers can now use their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to make contactless and in-app payments

From today, British businesses will be able to take payments using Apple Pay – a contactless system where customers can pay for items by holding their iPhone 6 devices or Apple Watch to a card reader.

The system will allow customers to make transactions of up to £20, rising to £30 in September, and works by using authorisation of a TouchID fingerprint scanner so that no actual numbers are stored on the device or transferred to the merchant.

Users can also make one touch in-app payments using the fingerprint scanner without having to re-enter credit card information or share personal information.

Apple Pay is supported by MasterCard, Visa Europe and American Express and has already attracted the support of thousands of retailers, including M&S, Waitrose and JD Sports.

So far, Natwest, Santander and Nationwide are the only banks to have signed up to the service but it’s speculated that Barclays will sign up imminently. Transport for London (TfL) has also announced that users will be able to pay for the Tube using Apple Pay, in the same way as you would an Oyster card, but will need to make sure their device is fully charged for the return journey.

The launch has been speculated to “transform the high street” and is also expected to provide a major boost to mobile e-commerce, as Stripe’s James Allgrove explained:

“The simplicity of buying things with a fingerprint means mobile conversion rates in apps are generally twice as high. This will power huge growth for mobile-first start-ups.”

First Data Merchant Solutions general manager, Raj Sond, added:

“The launch of Apple Pay in the UK is a fantastic opportunity for small and medium enterprises who will be able to reap the benefits of this new payment method without the usual cost barriers associated with adopting new technology. All small and medium enterprises with the ability to take contactless payments will now be able to accept ApplePay.”

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