Apple Pay will come to the UK in July, Apple confirmed at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on 8th June. It will be available at more than 250,000 locations – more than the number of merchants it had in the US for last year’s launch.
Apple Pay will be supported by more than 70 per cent of the credit and debit cards in the UK, according to a spokesman from Apple and the move will make the UK the first country outside the US to have access to use Apple Pay.
When used as an offline payment system, Apple Pay works in conjunction with an NFC (near-field communications) chip found in the two newest iPhones and the Apple Watch to let users pay for goods by tapping their phones on contactless card readers in stores.
The launch is expected to be much simpler than the US because Apple Pay uses the same technology as that found in conventional contactless card readers, already common across much of Europe and Asia.
The appeal of Apple Pay lies in the inclusion of an extra security measure – tokenisation – which ensures that the card details stored on a phone are never passed to the retailer. Instead, the payee receives a one-use “token”, which allows them to debit the payment but cannot be reused in future. Online, Apple Pay uses the same tokenisation system to speed up and secure ecommerce, letting iPhone owners pay for goods on supported websites with just a tap of their finger on the phone’s fingerprint reader.
In the US, uptake of Apple Pay was strong, with more than 40 per cent of iPhone 6 owners having used it at least once, according to Auriemma Consulting.