Apple Pay to launch in Britain in July

Thousands of UK retailers will accept Apple's contactless payments system from launch including M&S, Lidl, Waitrose and JD Sports

From July, UK business owners will be able to access Apple Pay with the company having confirmed its British launch at its annual worldwide developer conference this week.

From next month, the system will be accepted at more than 250,000 locations around the country, with the Transport for London Network, McDonald’s, Marks & Spencer and Boots among brands already signed up.

As well as having a compatible device, consumers will need a credit or debit card and an account at a supporting bank, with eight of the UK’s major banks already signed up to support Apple Pay at launch.

By Autumn, 70% of cards are scheduled to work with the system as Halifax, Lloyds Bank and the Bank of Scotland join the list.

Apple Pay works by holding the device to the card reader, and is authorised by the TouchID fingerprint scanner. No actual numbers are stored on the device or transferred to the merchant; instead, the user is assigned an encrypted unique device account number, with a single use cryptogram created for each individual transaction.

Transactions are currently limited to £20, but will rise to £30 in September. Apple Pay also enables users to make in-app payments without constantly re-entering credit card information or sharing personal details.

The system works on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch, and will support MasterCard, Visa Europe and American Express.

Nick Barnett, CEO of Appsme, explained the benefits of Apple Pay for small businesses: “The fundamental benefit of services like Apple Pay is convenience, not only for the customer but for business owners with a high store footfall or regular lunchtime rush. A few minutes of saved time for each payment can make day-to-day business management duties that bit easier to get through.

“While businesses must initially invest to replace or upgrade their payment system or PDQ machine in store, there are tangible benefits in getting ahead of the game and making the customer experience easier.

“For customers, the prospect of paying for their daily coffee or a haircut on their phone is new, but not alien. Even so, retailers should prepare for questions from customers who aren’t aware of the system’s security measures. If a phone is lost or stolen, payments can be suspended remotely.”

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