Apple Pay will shortly be available to more people in the UK, as HSBC has confirmed it will support the mobile payments system from late July.
HSBC was due to be in the first batch of banks supporting Apple Pay when it went live on 14 July. However, the bank was not ready in time to offer support, and has now confirmed to V3 that it will be available to UK HSBC customers from 28 July.
Since Apple Pay went live in the UK, Barclays has also announced that it will let customers use the system at some point. This is a change of heart from the bank that previously failed to confirm support for the rival Apple payment system.
“We are really excited about the launch of Apple Pay and can confirm that we will bring Barclays debit cards and Barclaycard credit cards to Apple Pay in the future,” the bank told us.
Previously, Barclays said it was in talks with Apple but gave no indication it planned to support Apple Pay.
Barclays was noticeably absent from Apple Pay’s roster of supporting banks, preferring to instead pursue its own bPay and Pingit contactless and biometric payments systems.
Apple Pay went live in the UK on 14 July, bringing Apple’s take on contactless payments to high-street stores, banks and cafés around the country.
Owners of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch will be able to pay for items costing up to £20 in places with payment terminals that support near-field communication (NFC ) contactless payments. Certain retailers, such as Marks & Spencer, have also upgraded their payment terminal software to offer limitless spending through Apple Pay.
Users of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will not be able to use Apple Pay in shops, but can use the service with the TouchID fingerprint scanner to make online and in-app payments.
Owners of the iPhone 5, 5S and 5C models will not be able to use Apple Pay unless their smartphone is paired with the Apple Watch, and the service will only work with contactless payments, not in-app or online transactions.
Several of the UK’s major banks and building societies are already supporting Apple Pay, including RBS, Nationwide and Santander, with more to follow in the autumn, such as Lloyds and TSB.
Numerous well-known high street brands are supporting Apple Pay, including McDonald’s, Boots, Spar, Waitrose, Costa Coffee, Pret a Manger, Starbucks and H&M.
Apply Pay will also enable people to pay for travel services, with the likes of British Airways, Addison Lee, Hailo, and EasyJet supporting the contactless payment service.
Transport for London will also accept Apple Pay payments, enabling commuters to pay with their iPhone or Apple Watch in place of their Oyster Card or contactless payment card.
How it works
Apple Pay acts as a digital wallet for a user’s credit and debit cards, allowing users to enter the details of their card if it is already registered on iTunes, or use the camera on an iPhone or iPad to photograph the card’s information.
The service then stores the card’s details on a secure chip in the iPhone or iPad, rather than push those details to Apple’s servers, which the company says affords the user greter protection.
Once a card has been put on a compatible device and verified automatically by the bank, Apple Pay can be used for contactless payments with compatible terminals.
According to Apple, Apple Pay can also be used to make more secure online and in-app payments using the service, as a user will need to verify their identity using the iTouch fingerprint scanner on compatible iPhones and iPads.
Apple Pay is supported by the three main credit card providers, American Express, Visa and Master card.
Visa’s tokenisation technology sits behind Apple Pay and replaces a user’s bank details with an encrypted “token” when payments are made through the service in order to prevent a user’s card details from being shared with a retailer.
MasterCard holders will have a similar security layer, known as the Digital Enablement Service, which also replaces card details with a token when a payment is being made.
Mark Barnett, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland, predicts Apple Pay will help drive contactless payments in the UK.
“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,” he said.
Jeremy Nicholds, executive director of Mobile at Visa Europe, echoed Barnett’s views: “Consumer demand for mobile contactless payments combined with the fact that 70 percent 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.
“With today’s launch of Apple Pay, it is clear that mobile [services] will fast become a preferred way to store and use a credit or debit card.”
Other payment experts also predict that Apple Pay will have a significant impact on the digital payments markets.