Ok, here we are – a month after WWDC 2015 and finally Apple Pay is now live in the United Kingdom. Originally launched back in September 2014 for the US only it effectively makes debit and credit cards usable on the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch by using NFC or “contactless” technology which is also present in contactless cards.

Original Launch

However in the United States where swipe and sign methods of payments are still present, hardly any contactless point of payment systems actually exist, so the retailer was required to upgrade their systems which means that it is likely that any store in the US that accepts contactless will accept Apple Pay also.

A contactless Britain

But it is very different here in the UK, we have had contactless for some time now and it is becoming very prominent and popular every day – as we have a large amoint of retailers that accept contactless payments.

Payments made using contactless in the UK were up by 255% in 2014 and 58m cards were in circulation. Apple have highlighted the stores which are officially accepting Apple Pay, but on the website it states:

“and everywhere else contactless is accepted”

How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay uses the same technology in contactless cards, and it works with credit and debit cards that are added into Passbook. The system works with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch. Where Apple Pay really has promise is privacy and security, something that contactless cards don’t do it tokenisation.

Any payments with Apple Pay uses a token, this means that your card details aren’t actually used for the transaction – instead a one time code it used to make the payment. This then uses Touch ID to make sure it is secure.

Where can I use Apple Pay?

So, since WWDC a number of retailers and apps have decided to support Apple Pay but as of writing there are 22 retailers across the country which are going to accept it. Below are the stores which are going to accept it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 13.12.59Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 13.13.07

Below is a description for our US readers.

  • Apple Stores
  • Bills (Restaurant)
  • Boots (Pharmacy)
  • BP (Fuel Station)
  • Costa (Coffee Chain)
  • KFC
  • Pain
  • Liberty London
  • Lidl (Supermarket)
  • M&S and M&S Simply Food (Clothing and Supermarket Chain)
  • McDonalds
  • Nandos (Restaurant)
  • Post Office
  • Pret
  • Spar (Small Supermarket)
  • Starbucks
  • Subway
  • The co-opertive food (Supermarket)
  • Transport for London/TfL
  • wagamama
  • Waitrose (Supermarket)

Aside from physical stores, a selection of apps will be accepting Apple Pay indulging Argos, British Airways, Domino’s, Just Eat, Topshop and more.

Which banks are supporting it?

So far, cards from NatWest, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Ulster Bank and MBNA are accepting activations for credit and debit cards. Later in July, First Direct and HSBC will join.

In the autumn Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and TSB Bank will be accepting Apple Pay.

How do I set Apple Pay up?

A full walk-through and guide will be up shortly, but on the iPhone 6 navigate to Passbook and Apple Pay then add any cards. On the Apple Watch, go to the Watch app then Passbook and Apple Pay.