TfL on-board for Apple Pay's UK launch

TfL on-board for Apple Pay's UK launch

Apple Pay will launch in the UK in July, with eight of the country's biggest banks, a host of merchants, and Transport for London all on-board.

The UK will be the second country to get Apple Pay, which launched in the US last October, enabling users to make online and instore payments with their iPhones and Apple watches.

HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank and Santander are among the banks backing the service, while Boots, Nando's and Waitrose lead a host of merchants that will accept iPhone-based payments. In addition, users of public transport in London will be able to pay for journeys with a tap of their handsets.

In total, around 250,000 locations across the country will accept Apple Pay, which will cover 70% of issued credit and debit cards.

Ross McEwan, CEO, RBS, says: "Whether on the high street, in a small shop or on the go within apps, Apple Pay offers a simple and secure way to pay. We are pleased to be among the first UK banks to offer this service to our customers."

Meanwhile, Apple's Passbook feature has been rebranded as Wallet and has been integrated with Apple Pay. Customers can now add store and reward cards to Apple Pay, which will recognise which is appropriate for use instore.

Apple also used its worldwide developer conference to reveal that Square has developed a new card reader that enables small businesses to accept Apple Pay as well as contactless and chip and PIN card transactions. The new dongle will begin shipping this autumn and will initially be free. With most US cards still magstripe, Square will also send firms a free swipe reader.

Despite a promising start in the States and Tim Cook predicting that "2015 will be the year of Apple Pay", recent research from Reuters suggests that the service is facing scepticism among American retailers.

Of the 98 top 100 US retailers quizzed by Reuters on the service, fewer than a quarter accept Apple Pay and nearly two thirds will definitely not do so by the end of the year. Among the reasons given for the lack of interest are lack of customer interest, cost, and a lack of data on transactions. Some also cited their commitment to the merchant led rival MCX, which plans to launch later this year.

Comments: (3)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 09 June, 2015, 07:58Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

While I'd highlighted that lack of transaction data would definitely be a hurdle towards merchant adoption of Apple Pay in Apple Puts Banks Squarely At The Center Of Mobile Payments, looks like I was a bit too optimistic about the timelines by when Apple would make "announcements around iBeacons, lower interchange fees and other retailer-side benefits".

On another note, for a product that's barely six months old, 25% adoption among Top 100 Retailers is a great accomplishment. Unfortunately, the next prediction about how "two thirds (of Top 100 Retailers) will definitely not (adopt) Apple Pay ... by the end of the year" doesn't sound so great.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 09 June, 2015, 08:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

While it's great that Apple is bringing this to the UK, if they can't take from the interchange to make margin, who is going to pay for the transactions?

Dean Wallace
Dean Wallace - ACI - Global 09 June, 2015, 10:21Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Interesting take on the interchange challenge. The reality is that the banks will have to find the extra cost from their P&L. This will put extra squeeze on their costs at a time they are already being pinched due to regulatory pressure on interchange caps. Ultimately, maybe their branch lay offs will save the coin needed? Or maybe, heaven forbid, they are going start charging consumers! I compared Apple Pay to Zapp briefly in my blog, check it out.