Barclays caves as Apple Pay launches in the UK

Apple Pay finally launched in the UK and while Barclays Bank had originally failed to sign up, it has tweeted that it will join the system at some point in the future.

Contactless payment continues to grow rapidly in popularity, with more than £2.2 billion spent via the system in 2014, according to research from the UK Cards Association. And the competition to become the payment selection of choice is accelerating. Google is planning the launch of its own mobile payment solution – Android Pay –  later in 2015, while Barclaycard has already launched its bPay system, where users can choose between either a wristband, key fob or intelligent sticker for their phone that contains contactless technology and can be linked with any bank account and card.

Apple’s iPhone based payment system has launched and will work with and iPhone 6, 6plus or Apple Watch, although the latest version of iOS is required to use the software. The launch marks the first time the software will be available outside the US, and will allow users to tap their phone on contactless payment points to complete transactions – just like a contactless credit card. The system uses the TouchID fingerprint scanner built into the iPhone to authorise a payment and keep transactions secure. Similarly, the new iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 will also have Apple Pay within certain apps.

UK bank cards (HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide, Santander, etc) are supported and they can be added by pressing the “+” in your Passbook app. If any of these cards are already added to an iTunes account then users simply need to add their CVV code to confirm. Some newer cards might require a picture of the card with the iPhone or iPad camera and an input of details before it’s verified.

A number of major UK brands and banks have already signed up to support Apple Pay at launch, including Boots, Waitrose and the Post Office, with the same spending limit of £20 in place for single contactless transactions. This is expected to increase to £30 in September although VISA is reported to have confirmed that it  will allow limitless spend for any vendor that is willing to up the amount, and has upgraded the software used to make the transaction accordingly.

Apple also said that privacy and security is a key part of Pay, with the iPhone maker saying that when a credit or debit card is added, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, or Apple’s servers. Instead, each transaction is completed with a “one-time unique, dynamic security code”.