22 August 2017
Charmaine Oak

Digital Money Ecosystems

Charmaine Oak - Shift Thought Ltd

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Innovation in Financial Services

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

Apple Pay comes to the most contactless ready country - UK!

14 July 2015  |  2660 views  |  4

Today Apple Pay launched in the UK - signalling the start of a new era.

 

Since Apple Pay launched in USA last October, a UK launch has been expected, to mark the start of a new level of use of mobile phones for contactless payment. UK is the country that is arguably the most contactless-ready in the world, with the largest number of contactless cards according to recent Visa reports. As people in the UK start to pay for goods and services around London using their iPhones and Apple Watches this could forever change the way we pay, first in the UK and shortly across other parts of Europe.

From today over 250,000 shops will accept Apple Pay across UK.

These include:

  • High Street Favourites: The Post Office, Starbucks, Costa, Subway, KFC, McDonalds, Pret
  • Retail Stores: Waitrose, Lidl, Spar, JD Sports, Dune
  • Department Stores: Marks & Spencer
  • Restaurants: Wagamama, Nando's
  • and most important of all  - Transport for London (TfL)

As you will recall, London buses went cashless last year this time, but people were still largely using Oyster cards, with contactless payment cards still a novelty.  Although mobile payments was supported by Vodafone, EE and others, consumers failed to adopt in large numbers. Now though, there is for the first time a real challenger to contactless cards.

From today people can authorise payment simply by using their fingerprints, with the NFC chip on their phone communicating with TfL readers on the London underground, buses and rail networks.

The first three banks to launch today are Santander, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland. Barclays, having held out the longest, is also likely to shortly support Apple Pay, but HSBC and First Direct will be first with their launch later this month.

As the limit for contactless transactions increases from £20 to £30 in a few months, people can start to buy groceries through this fast new checkout method. Unfortunately I buy all my groceries online, so will have to make a special trip to the stores to check this out. Watch this space!

There are many ways to measure contactless readiness – number of terminals, number of cards, usage of contactless payments and more. Different countries top on different criteria. This month Visa Europe reported that UK leads Europe in contactless cards issued at 49.6 m cards, and 410,000 terminals, and considering that these are just figures from Visa, these figures appear to make UK the leading country, at least on some measures of contactless readiness (Your views are most welcome!). This launch is therefore a critical one for Apple, and will be instrumental in driving strategies of key providers world-wide.

With Apple Pay here now, can Android Pay be far behind?

londonbus TagsMobile & onlinePayments

Comments: (4)

Raymond Lee
Raymond Lee - Trustonic - Reading | 14 July, 2015, 13:37

"From today people can authorise payment simply by using their fingerprints, with the NFC chip on their phone communicating with TfL readers on the London underground, buses and rail networks.".. not true!! There is no need to do this. You just have to tap and pay. No need to authorise. 

Going to be interesting how many phones get damaged doing this of course. 

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 14 July, 2015, 14:15

Thanks for that clarification Raymond. Phone is in passive, card emulation mode for the TfL use case. I combined two use cases in one sentence, got a bit ahead of myself there!

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Alistair Newton
Alistair Newton - Gartner - unspecified | 14 July, 2015, 16:37

Well when I used it this morning in London for a number of trips, it certainly forced me to use TouchID to authorise when I tapped in and out...not the most elegant or quick process and I wasnt the most popular commuter with fellow passengers - certainly took longer than using an Oyster card or a contactless payment card.... 

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 14 July, 2015, 16:45

Alistair Newton, congrats on being one of the first to use the system and thanks for the update. Sorry to hear that's the way it is working. However, better safe than sorry. The important thing is it's up and running, something we've been trying to achieve for a decade now. Great to hear of your experience!

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