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Apple Pay in the UK – What is it and how does it work?

How will Apple Pay work in the UK? We take a look at the Samsung Pay and Android Pay rival that finally works with Barclays

After launching first across the pond in America, Apple Pay is now available in many more places, including, the UK. The super-simple mobile solution works on a load of Apple phone now including the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

So what do you need to know about Apple’s first foray into NFC-style mobile payments? Where can you use it? How do you set it up? Here’s a breakdown of how Apple Pay works on the iPhone and the Apple Watch.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is Apple’s belated entry to the mobile payment market. Now it’s up and running, you’ll be able to make payments in shops by holding your iPhone or Apple Watch next to the provided payment point, using your fingerprint to authenticate. That means no more plastic cards or PIN numbers.

It also works online with apps, so for example, you’ll be able to order and pay for a cab through Uber with a virtual button press and Touch ID fingerprint authentication.

Related: Can Apple Pay really replace your wallet?

How to set Apple Pay up

If you already have a payment card on Apple’s system (which is highly likely if you’ve ever used iTunes before), you’ll be ready to roll as soon as you purchase an iPhone 6S. But adding a new card shouldn’t be much of a pain either.

You can use the iPhone’s camera to take a picture of the card you want to add, and clever software will pull out the relevant data. You’ll then need to verify with your bank that this is indeed your card, then add it to the Wallet app. Yes, that card-storing app that’s sat forgotten in a folder on your iPhone for the past two years.

Here’s the step-by-step guide:

1) Make sure you’re on the latest version of iOS, that’s 9.1.3, and open up the Wallet app

2) Tap the ‘+’ icon in the top right hand corner, then hit ‘Next

3) Get out your card, snap a picture and it’ll grab all the vital information. Or you can just add in the details manually.

4) You’ll now need to verify your card – we could either do this by a virtual phone call and by inputting a code from a text messge.

5) You’re ready to go. Your card should now appear in the Wallet.

How Apple Pay works in shops

The iPhone 6S and 6 range, as well as the Apple Watch, contain NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. This wireless standard allows for the secure and highly localised transfer or data between two devices, making it perfect for mobile payments.

All you’ll need to do to make payments with your Apple device will be to hold your iPhone or Apple Watch up to a compatible payment point and authenticate, and the appropriate payment will be taken from your account.

“Contactless payments are already widely embraced by millions of Visa cardholders across the country every day, so adding the simplicity and convenience of Apple Pay will catapult mobile payments into the mainstream,” said Jeremy Nicholds, Executive Director of Mobile at Visa Europe. “If people leave the house with one item, it’s their mobile phone – we’ve worked alongside Apple and the various banks involved to give customers a really seamless and exciting new payment experience through Apple Pay, so they have new ways to use their favourite Visa cards on the go and when shopping in the apps they love.”
Apple Pay

Which iPhones will the Apple Pay work with?

Apple Pay will work through Apple’s current crop of phones: the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, iPhone 6S, 6S Plus and iPhone SE.

In fact, the Apple Watch will even enable you to use Apple Pay with older iPhone devices. Pair it up with an iPhone 5 or later, and you’ll be able to use your phone to store and manage your cards, with the Apple Watch acting as the means of payment connection and authentication.

For iPad users, the iPad Air 2, iPad Pro line and the iPad Mini 3 and 4 is also Apple Pay-friendly but can only be used for purchases inside iPad apps.

Related: Apple Watch vs Android Wear
Apple Pay

Is there a limit to how much you can spend with Apple Pay?

For most Apple Pay-friendly retailers there is a maximum spend of £30, but Visa Europe has confirmed that handful of business will offer no limit on spending. It’s a case of upgrading terminals to be able to break through the £20 spending barrier.

Here’s a list of the retailers, transport and restaurants that can support Apple Pay purchases over £30 right now in the UK:

Shops – Apple, Boots, H&M, Jack & Jones, Louis Vuitton, Mango, Marks & Spencer, National Maritime Museum, Pandora, Thomas Sabo, Vodafone Stores

Transport – TFL, London Taxi, Malthurst & Pace service station, Rontec service stations, Virgin Atlantic

Restaurants – Bill’s Restaurants, Brooks Brothers, Burger King, Cote Brasserie, Iberica, Le Pain Quotidien, Patisserie Valerie, Pret a Manger, Simi Sarayi, Swan at the Globe

Is Apple Pay secure?

You betcha. In fact, it’s probably more secure than those old card payments you’ve been making over the years. Yes, even the chip-and-pin ones.

Part of that is because all secure data is kept away from the retail outlet and its staff. They don’t see your name or your card number.

The iPhone applies a dynamic one-time security code in place of the fixed data stored in the magnetic strip of your cards, so there’s really no need for any of these retailers to store any of your data. Even Apple itself won’t know any of your purchase history.

What’s more, if your iPhone is ever lost or stolen, you can remotely suspend the use of of all payment card information from it through Find My iPhone.

Related: iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus
secure pay

Apple Pay supported retailers and banks

In the US Apple has formed partnerships with dozens of retailers covering some 220,000 stores to accept Apple Pay payments. These include McDonalds, Disney, Staples, Nike, Whole Foods, Toys R Us, and Subway, with plenty more to come.

As for the payment system itself, Apple has gained support from the three major payment cards – Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. It has also reached agreements with half a dozen banks, including Citi, Chase, and Capital One, with another five announced as coming soon.

Apple Pay

UK Banks supporting Apple Pay:
Lloyds, RBS, M&S Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Ulster Bank, American Express, Santander, First Direct, Nationwide, MBNA, TSB, Natwest, HSBC and Barclaycard

Apple claims that 70 per cent of UK debit cards will be supported by Apple Pay banks and retailers.
Apple Pay in the UK
As for the retailers, a number of UK stores have already signed up to support Apple Pay here in Blighty.

So far, those who have confirmed Apple Pay support are as follows: Lidl, M&S, M&S Food, Post Office, Liberty London, MacDonalds, Boots, Costa, Waitrose, Transport for London, Pret, BP garages, Subway, Wagamama, Spar, KFC, Nandos, New Look, Starbucks, Dune and JD Sports.

You’ll also be able to use Apple Pay at retailers that aren’t listed here, but still accept contactless payment currently. That will included places like Tesco, Itsu and Iceland.

Have you tried out Apple Pay? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below

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