Nine months after debuting in the US, Apple Pay is now available across the UK as of today. Stylist was one of the first to be introduced to the contactless payment system by the Apple team this morning, kicking off the day with a macchiato at Pret A Manger which was paid for within seconds via the fingerprint technology built in to the home button on our iPhone 6.
The ubiquitous high street chain is one of the first UK retail brands to accept Apple Pay, alongside Boots, Waitrose, Liberty, Starbucks, Marks and Spencer, Le Pain Quotidien, Post Offices and many more, culminating in 250,000 locations across the country at launch. Ready to throw away your wallet? Here’s what you need to know…
1.It might be time to upgrade your Apple device
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to upgrade to the latest iPhone or iPad, here it is. Apple Pay requires iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to use in retailers and within apps and iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 to make purchases within apps such as Zara, Topshop, Etsy, Addison Lee, JD Sports, LastMinute.com and more. If you have an Apple Watch in your accessories arsenal, you can get away with having an iPhone 5, 5C, or 5S to make in-store purchases via the watch.
2. By the end of July, eight banks will be on board
Right now, customers of NatWest, RBS, Santander, Nationwide Building Society, Ulster Bank and MBNA can use ApplePay, with HSBC and first direct coming on board by the time 31 July rolls around. By autumn, they’ll be joined by Lloyds, TSB, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and M&S Bank. Barclays has revealed that it will be joining Apple Pay “imminently”. You can add as many Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit or debit cards as you like.
3. Apple Pay transactions stay between you and your bank
Apple is keen to highlight that they will not be mining your shopping history for data and your bank details are not stored on your device. After scanning your card, the in-built Passbook app sends an encrypted message to your bank to check its legitimacy. Once approved, your bank assigns a special device account number to your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch which Apple can’t decrypt. While Apple facilitates the payments via this device account number, the transaction details are kept between you, your bank and the retailer.
4. It’s not just small change purchases
While existing contactless payments are currently limited to £20 per transaction (rising to £30 in September), some retailers have done away with spending limits for Apple Pay, such as Pret A Manger – meaning you can treat everyone in your office to a Love Bar on your next Pret run.
5. Apple Pay will change your commute forever
One of the biggest companies to join the UK Apple Pay revolution is Transport for London (TfL), meaning you can now waltz through the tube gates by placing your finger on the Touch ID/home button of your phone or double-clicking the side button of your Apple Watch then placing the device over the Oyster card reader. Which means scrabbling for your Oyster or contactless card in your wallet while trying to ignore the annoyed mutterings of the crowd behind you will soon be a thing of the past. Anything that makes the commute easier is a win in our books…