And We’re Off! Apple Pay UK Up and Running
After many months of speculation and anticipation since its US release in October, Apple Pay finally went live in the UK just a few days ago.
Tap to Pay
This is the cashless, cardless, walletless way to make small financial transactions using near field communications, or NFC. Just touch your Apple gadget to the payment terminal at checkout, and the money comes right out of your bank account.
Of course, Apple Pay won’t work with all banks, nor will it work with all Apple devices. Here’s what you need to know about using this tap to pay system.
Related: Jawbone UP4 Jumps Into the NFC Game
The Banks on Board
First, the bad news: banking behemoth HSBC missed the Apple Pay launch. Whether it was intentional or a missed deadline, we’ll never know, but as of right now, if you’re an HSBC customer, you won’t be able to use Apple Pay for at least a few more weeks.
However, there are a handful of major banking institutions that are on board with Apple Pay:
- Royal Bank of Scotland,
- Ulster Bank,
- and Santander.
More banks are expected to support Apple Pay in the near future, but if you’ve got an account at one of the aforementioned banks, you can use Apple Pay right away. Well, if you’ve got the right device, that is.
Device Specific, But Easy to Use
Apple Pay works only with the latest versions of the iPhone (6 and 6 Plus) and the Apple Watch. If you’ve got one of these, and you’ve got an account at a participating bank, you’re in business: just add a card to your Passbook app (using your camera, so you don’t have to punch in all the digits), and off you go.
When you’re ready to pay for something, tap your device to the terminal. On your Apple Watch, you’ll need to open up your Apple Pay screen first. On an iPhone (again, 6 or 6 Plus), you’ll be prompted for a fingerprint scan for added security.
Awkward at First
Like most other new technologies, Apple Pay is a little clunky to use at first — for both consumers and retailers. It seems like you should just be able to tap you iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to the terminal and be done with it, but it doesn’t always catch on the initial attempt. Patience is definitely required your first time out.
Shop employees may not be able to offer much assistance — they’re as new to this as you are. Additionally, don’t be surprised if some retail workers are frustrated with Apple Pay as a whole; this is just one more thing for them to deal with. Your best bet is to go slowly, be prepared to tap a few times, and have some cash as a backup until you’re sure you’ve got the hang of the thing.
A Few Final Thoughts
Apple Pay’s UK rollout is definitely exciting, and I’m sure that within a few weeks, most of the wrinkles will be ironed out and it will all be working smoothly. Eventually, we’ll all take this newfound convenience for granted, but for now, it’s definitely freeing to not have to carry cash, or even a credit card, when you go out for a latte or a few quick items.
One final thing that consumers will want to know is that Apple Pay has a transaction limit of £20. It will go up 50% to £30 in September, which is an improvement, but still not a huge amount. Still, while you can’t do your weekly grocery shopping using Apple Pay, it’s definitely an easy, clean, and helpful new way to make small purchases.