What you need to know about Apple Pay

14 July 2015

Payment by just one touch of an iPhone or iPad or two clicks of an Apple Watch is now possible, thanks to the launch of Apple Pay in the UK.

The arrival of Apple Pay enables customers of most high street banks to save themselves time at the till or when making payments within apps.

To take advantage of the technology, you need to link the credit or debit card you've added to your iTunes account – plus any others you choose – to your Apple device's Passbook by entering the card security code.

Once your 'digital wallet' is set up, you can use Apple Pay just as you would make a contactless payment in a store; but instead of needing a bank card, you simply use your Apple device's Touch ID fingerprint recognition tool.

The devices you are able to use Apple Pay with are the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and Apple Watch.

Apple Pay is a secure payment system, meaning card details aren't passed on to the companies you buy from and are never be shared by Apple.

So who’s signed up?

Most high street banks have signed up to the new payment method, which has been in use in the US for the past couple of years.

First Direct, HSBC, NatWest, Nationwide Building Society, RBS, Santander and Ulster Bank are ready. However, customers of Bank of Scotland, Coutts, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, MBNA, M&S Bank and TSB Bank will have to wait until the autumn.

Barclays is the only big bank not to have already joined the scheme but says discussions with Apple are underway.

A long list of shops, restaurants and other retailers have agreed to accept Apple Pay, including Argos, Boots, BP, Costa, McDonald's, Lidl, M&S, Post Office, Starbucks, TfL (Transport for London), Topshop, Waitrose and Zara. Notable exclusions so far include the big four supermarkets – Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Anyone wishing to use Apple Pay is encouraged to download the Find My iPhone app so if your Apple device is lost or stolen the app can quickly activate a 'Lost Mode' that will suspend Apple Pay or wipe your device completely.

It is also possible to put an end to payments from credit and debit cards through Apple Pay via the iCloud, accessed through Settings.

Safer way to pay

Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, said: "Much has been made of the fact that no credit or debit card data is stored on Apple servers, shared with merchants, or transmitted with payments. All this means details are less likely to be stolen and misused. In short, Apple Pay is actually a safer way to pay than using cards and cash in your wallet or purse."

"But to convince the sceptics and win over UK shoppers, Apple needs to shout even louder about its security features. Fears of theft and fraud are the biggest barriers to mobile payments going mainstream this side of the Pond. Just a fifth (20%) of Brits have made mobile payments using existing technologies, but 37% said fingerprint technology as a security feature makes them more likely to use Apple Pay."

How much you can spend via Apple Pay depends on the retailer. There is no set limit, unlike the current £20 cap for contactless purchases (which is rising to £30 in September).

For more information on Apple Pay, visit apple.com/apple-pay.

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