Our rundown of the key facts behind Apple Pay
After weeks of waiting, the moment is finally here – Apple Pay has hit the UK. From today, you can use the system to pay for goods and services using your Apple device, but only if you have the right one.
Here’s our rundown of what you need to know about what Apple is calling the future of payment technology.
What is it?
Put simply, Apple Pay allows you to pay at the checkout using your Apple mobile phone or smartwatch without the need for cash or card, using NFC (near-field communication) technology.
All you need to do is select the card your want to use hold your iPhone near the contactless reader (as you would with current contactless debit and credit cards) with your finger on Touch ID, with the transaction being carried out in a matter of seconds.
In order to pay with your Apple Watch, just double-click the device’s side button and hold the display up to the contactless reader. A gentle tap and beep confirm that your payment information was sent.
You can also use Apple Pay to pay for things inside of apps, similar to how you would using services like PayPal. However, you’ll need a TouchID-enabled device, with transactions carried out by holding your fingerprint against the reader and selecting Apple Pay on the checkout.
Card information is stored inside Apple’s Passbook app, and iTunes account holders can add the credit or debit card from this to Passbook simply by entering the card security code.
The company is also planning to introduce support for loyalty schemes and reward cards in the next iOS update, with iOS 9 expected to be released later this year.
What do I need to use it?
As mentioned above, only Apple’s most recent devices will be able to use Apple Pay.
This means that the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch will support the technology, with users of older phones having to wait for now.
To use the online payment function, you’ll again need one of the above devices, or an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3, both of which sport the TouchID input.
Almost all of the UK’s major banks will support Apple Pay – with Barclays the only main exception so far to not show it any love, thanks to its recently-launched bPay contactless wristbands.
So this includes credit and debit cards from MBNA, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank, with American Express, Mastercard and Visa cards all supported.
However, some HSBC and FirstDirect customers have already reported issues using Apple Pay, with the banks saying they are not supported by the app just yet, but expect to be later this month.
The Lloyds Banking Group is another major absence, saying that Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers will not be supported until autumn.
Users also need to be 13 or over to use the service.
Where can I use it?
Apple has signed up a whole host of customers for the launch of Apple Pay, which it says will be available at more than 250,000 locations across the UK, many of which will now be sporting signs at their checkouts advertising this.
The company kicked off the announcement of UK Apple Pay by revealing that major retailers including Boots, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose are all supported. Restaurants such as KFC, McDonalds, Nandos, Starbucks and Wagamamas will also support Apple Pay, allowing for a quick refuel.
A number of major apps will also support Apple Pay, including the likes of Just Eat, Addison Lee, Hailo and Dominos.
London’s commuters will be pleased to know that all TfL services are supported, although we’ve known that for a while, and overseas customers have already been able to use the service.
To begin with, Apple Pay will match the £20 limit per transaction currently set by contactless cards. However, this may increase from September, when the limit is set to rise to £30 meaning Apple Pay may also increase around then.
Is it safe?
Apple has taken great steps to ensure Apple Pay is a safe and secure system, helped by integrating it within the company’s existing Passbook app.
Regarding your personal card details, every time you make a purchase, Apple Pay assigns a unique Device Account Number (DAN) instead of your actual card number. This is then encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, with the DAN then teamed up with a transaction-specific dynamic security code to process your payment.
This all means that your personal data is never sent to Apple’s servers, or shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.
If your iPhone or iPad is ever lost or stolen, you can use Find My iPhone to quickly put your device in Lost Mode to suspend Apple Pay, or you can wipe your device clean completely.
You can also stop the ability to make payments from credit and debit cards on your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch with iCloud. Just log into iCloud.com and click on Settings.
All clued up on mobile payments? Try our quiz!