Apple Pay launches in the UK

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Apple Pay, the high-tech alternative to credit and debit cards, has now gone live in the UK.

The replacement for physical wallets was announced by Apple’s Tim Cook last September, and now the UK is the first country outside of the US to be able to use the service.

The country’s leading credit card providers – Visa, MasterCard, and American Express – have all signed up. Banks and building societies involved include the Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Ulster Bank, NatWest, and Nationwide.

However, Halifax, Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, and TSB say they will join “soon”. HSBC had been set to participate in the launch but are now saying they are not quite ready. A spokeswoman said: “We’re working hard to bring Apple Pay to HSBC and First Direct customers, and they’ll be able to use it later in July.”

NFC required

An Apple device is needed to use the service, and it must be a newer model that has a near-field communication (NFC) chip allowing contactless payments to be made.

This means that only owners of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch can make the most of it, although older handsets can be used if they are paired with the smartwatch. The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 are fitted with the fingerprint readers needed for online sales.

Restrictions

The same limit of £20 that applies to current tap-and-go card transactions will be apply to Apple Pay at many retailers, although this will rise to £30 in September

Stores can upgrade their software so that it recognises fingerprint readings as a type of ID check alternative to pin numbers and remove the cap.


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