Everything you need to know about Apple Pay in the UK

Apple Pay Here

So today (14/07/15) saw the launch of Apple Pay in the UK.. But what is it, and why should I care I hear you say.. Well – hopefully the post below will help you get the most from Apple Pay, and answer any questions you may have.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is Apples attempt at getting you to leave your wallet at home, or at least your bank cards! Ever since the inception of the Apple Wallet (aka Passbook) companies have offered up ‘membership/club’ cards as ‘Passbook’ items, to save you having to carry extra cards round with you. Apple have worked hard to take that one step further, and have worked with some pretty influential organisations to introduce Apple Pay. Which allows you to store your bank card details in the secure enclave on your Apple iDevice, then using NFC (Near Field Communications) and Apple’s Touch ID you can use your phone to securely pay for items or services at supported pay points.

Sounds cool doesn’t it? But wait.. Also a little daunting? Well no need to panic just yet, check out my definitive and always up to date post below to find out all there is to know!

Just how secure is it?

All of your bank card details are stored securely on a chip (secure enclave) whose sole purpose is holding sensitive information such as your finger print for Touch ID. The information stored on this chip is not transmitted anywhere and never leaves your device. To ‘unlock’ and use the information stored in the enclave you have to authenticate with your Touch ID registered finger print, which is obviously much more secure than handing your bank card over to a person you’ve never met before!

When you register a new card in the ‘Passbook’ application your card gets assigned a Device Account Number which only your device will know. This is then paired up with security code which is generated at the time of making the payment.

Whats more, should you happen to misplace your phone you can logon to iCloud.com and immediately revoke your devices ability to authorise payments using Apple Pay.

Apple do not store any of your purchase details, so no purchases can be tied back to you when using Apple Pay. A record of transactions will be visible in PassBook however this is not transmitted anywhere.

Can anyone use it?

First of all you are going to need either an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus. Or an iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus paired with an Apple Watch.

At the time of writing this post, Apple Pay works with most of the major credit and debit cards however only a select number of UK banks have signed up to the platform, and currently there’s no sign of any of them offering the service to the general public. The following banks are currently looking into implementing the platform: American Express, mbna, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank.

Some other banks who have announced Apple Pay will soon be supported are: Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Llyods Bank, M&S Bank and TSB.

You can alse use the Apple Pay system to make in App purchases in some top grossing applications (On iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3): Addison Lee, Airbnb, Argos, Booking.com, British Airways, Dice, Domino’s, Easyjet, Five Guys, Hailo, Harris+Hoole, Hotels.com, HotelTonight, Hungryhouse, JD Sports, Just Eat, Lastminute.com, Lufthansa, Miss Selfridge, Mr and Mrs Smith, Ocado, Stubhub, Thetrainline.com, Top10, Topshop, Uncover, Vueling, YPlan and Zalando

How do I set it up?

If you are using one of the supported devices listed above, launch the Passbook application, click the plus symbol in the top right hand corner of the screen then follow the on screen instructions to add a new card. It really is as simple as that!

Where can I use Apple Pay in the UK?

Perhaps the most important question, after all there’s little point in signing up to a service if the shops and services you use don’t sign up to. At the time of writing this post, there are quite a few influential companies who have already signed up to say they will shortly be accepting Apple Pay in the UK! Which is great news..

The companies currently stand at: Apple, Boots, BP, Costa, Dune, JD Sports, KFC, Liberty London, Lidl, M&S, McDonald’s, Nando’s, New Look, Post Office, Pret A Manger, Spar, Starbucks, Subway, Transport for London (TfL), Wagamma and Waitrose.

Many more companies are likely to sign up for the service as its popularity takes off. So keep an eye out for the Apple Pay ‘accepted’ symbol.

Apple Pay Here

Is there a transaction limit?

Currently Apple have set the transaction limit for NFC payments to £20, its since been confirmed that this is only temporary and will rise to £30 on the 1st of September.

Edit: There are reports that some companies are already accepting limitless transactions using contactless Apple Pay, the two companies first to announce this are Pret a Manger and Bill’s. 

How can I accept Apple Pay in my business?

If you are a business owner and would like to sign up to Apple Pay in the UK then check out the Apple Pay for Merchants website


That’s it for now, check back soon as when more banks and merchants embrace the platform I’ll be sure to update my post.

If you’re lucky enough to have used it already post below and let us know how you got on! Equally if you re skeptical and hate everything about it, let us know your thoughts and concerns.

Mike Hudson

Mike Hudson is a Lead Cyber Security Analyst living and working in Kingston Upon Hull. With extensive experience in Microsoft and Apple technologies, ranging from desktop OS’s to Server OS’s and hardware. By day working as part of an infrastructure team, and by night ridding the world of IT issues through blog posts..

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