Apple flicked the switch on Apple Pay for U.K. shoppers in 2015, taking the tech company’s contactless payment service outside of the U.S. for the first time since its launch. The widespread use of contactless payment cards eased its introduction, with people familiar with the process already. Here’s everything you need to know about Apple Pay in the U.K..
Which banks support Apple Pay?
When Apple Pay went live on July 14 2015, the following banks supported the system immediately: Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Ulster Bank, and NatWest, plus American Express and MBNA cards. Two weeks later, First Direct and HSBC switched on Apple Pay, after mysteriously missing the launch.
On September 11, shortly after the launch of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, Halifax and Lloyds Bank both joined the Apple Pay family. Since then, Bank of Scotland, TSB, HSBC, Tesco Bank, and M&S Bank have all announced compatibility.
Always missing from the list was Barclays, but this changed in April 2016. Although it had always stated Apple Pay would arrive eventually, the delay has frustrated customers of the U.K.’s second largest bank. Apple Pay is now available to Personal, Premier, and Wealth account holders, and instructions on how to set up the service can be found here. Barclays also backs its own contactless payment system, has t it will bring Apple Pay to its customers in the future.
Where can Apple Pay be used?
More than a quarter of a million locations across the country will accept Apple Pay, among them M&S, Boots, Lidl, Waitrose, Starbucks and, of course, the Apple Store. Other high street stores include McDonalds, Wilko, KFC, Costa Coffee, the Post Office, BP gas stations, and with Transport for London. Apple Pay users can use the contactless system on the London Underground and other transportation around the city, instead of a physical ticket, or the existing contactless Oyster Card method.
Apple Pay can also be used in certain apps. Apple’s website details them here, and the names include Etsy, JD Sports, Topshop, Zara, Addison Lee, and LastMinute.
How to use Apple Pay in the UK
The payment procedure is simple enough – pretty much a case of pressing your finger on your iPhone’s home button and holding the device close to the card reader. Apple Watch owners need to double tap the side button to access a card, then hold the smartwatch near the reader whereupon the transaction should go through. For a more detailed look at how to set up and use the service, as well as information on the different kinds of transactions you can make, be sure to check out DT’s comprehensive guide here.
When Apple Pay launched, transactions were limited to £20 ($31). On August 31, the limit was increased to £30 ($46). It’s a security measure — contactless payment technology has been used in the U.K. for quite a few years, and the cap is geared toward preventing stolen cards from being used in stores for large purchases.
However, as Apple Pay transactions can only take place after the user’s fingerprint has been recognized by the iPhone’s Touch ID sensor, the limit seems unnecessary for Apple’s payment system. As a result, the Cupertino company is nudging U.K. retailers to update their systems to open up Apple Pay to pricier purchases.
Apple is planning to take its contactless payment service to more countries over time.
Updated on 04-05-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of Barclays support for Apple Pay
Updated in 09-11-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in two new banks that now support Apple Pay in the UK.
Updated in 07-28-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in details of further bank support for Apple Pay in the UK.
Article originally published on 07-14-2015