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Apple Pay goes live on UK high streets

Sam Shead | July 15, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook first revealed the physical wallet-replacement service last September.

"Having said that, retailers still need to be aware of new payment services such as ApplePay, as these services are allowing customers to make payments from any location at any time, just by using their mobile device. Retailers who fail to see the opportunity with ApplePay and mobile payment services risk placing a barrier at the point of sale. Ultimately the more payment options available to customers, the easier it will be for retailers to make transactions and as a result, sales."

Who is going to support it?

Payment card providers Visa, Mastercard and American Express have all registered to use Apple Pay, as have a number of banks, including Ulster Bank, Nationwide, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

HSBC was due to be listed up until Monday evening but now it claims it's not ready. A HSBC spokeswoman told the BBC that the reason for its absence was not linked to it leaking the launch date over the weekend.

"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," she told the BBC.

It's understood that Halifax, Lloyds, Bank of Scotland and TSB will also join soon, as will Barclays, possibly the biggest name not to feature on the launch day list of compatible banks.

In the US, Apple Pay is already used by over 300 banks and 700,000 stores.

Lu Zurawski, head of consumer payments in EMEA at global payments firm ACI Worldwide, said: "There is no doubt that Apple Pay is a significant watershed moment in consumer payments. Apple Pay has every chance of being a big hit in the UK, in particular in those parts of the country where contactless payments have already proven to be popular with consumers, such as within the M25 where consumers are benefiting from the 'Oyster' card training effect."

"As consumers become familiar with using phone devices to make purchases, we will probably see a plateau in the issuance of plastic cards in the next few years, followed by a long but inevitable decline of cards into obscurity."

"The implications for UK banks are manifold: Banks that move quickly to adopt Apple Pay will need to carefully consider the economics of this new scheme and how to accommodate other alternatives too, e.g. Samsung Pay, Android Pay or the Zapp platform. Behind the scenes, bankers are trying to work out how to stitch together all these new payments operations, whilst offering their consumers an overall, easy to use service."


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