If you have been hearing a lot about Apple Pay in the last few weeks and have not yet got to grips with what it is, then you are probably not alone. So here at MMD we decided to give you the lowdown on Apple Pay and what it will mean for you when Apple Pay UK launches tomorrow.
What is Apple Pay contactless payment?
Apple Pay is a new way of paying for items in shops and in apps via your iPhone 6 without the need to get your cards out of your wallet. You will be able to make payments through contactless technology, and thanks to a host of security features built into the service, you can use your phone to pay in a “simple, secure and private way” according to Apple.
How does Apple Pay work?
The iPhone 6 has an inbuilt Near Field Communication antenna so you simply hold your phone near the contactless reader – which many people have already used with their chip and PIN cards – and hold your finger on Touch ID for the payment to be made. The phone will vibrate and beep so you know the transaction has been completed.
Do you have to open an app then?
No, apparently not according to Apple. It should happen automatically thanks to the Near Field Communication antenna.
How do you set it up?
You need to use Passbook to store your credit and debit card details as the first part of the Apple Pay setup, and if you want to use the card that is already linked to your iTunes account, then you can do so by entering the security code. But if you want to add other cards, then either use the iSight camera or type it in manually. Remember though, the first card you add will become your default payment card, so change this in Passbook settings if you prefer your payments to be charged to a different card you have loaded.
Can anyone with an iPhone 6 use Apple Pay contactless payments?
Well, yes and no. Anyone with an iPhone 6 will have the ability to use the service through the phone, but it will depend on whether your bank has signed up to offer Apple Pay or not. For example, Lloyds Banking Group has said it will be offering Apple Pay to its Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers will offer this later this year.
UK banks’ Apple Pay facilities may take a little while to filter through, but it is highly likely that the vast majority will be jumping on this particular bandwagon as quickly as possible.
How popular is Apple Pay contactless payment going to be?
Given the rocketing use of contactless payment methods in the past year – up 300% in the UK to £2.3 billion of transactions from 2013 to October 2014 – it should be incredibly popular. From September 2015, the limit on the amount you can spend through contactless payment methods will rise from £20 to £30, so that is only going to boost the figures further. Apple Pay contactless payments are likely to be at the leading edge, given the popularity of anything Apple.
For retailers, Apple Pay could be good news as many people feel they are more likely to increase their spending once they are buying items with their phone rather than their wallets. As many as one in four people surveyed by uSwitch said they could see their spending habits spiralling out of control. That said, a significant three in five of those surveyed said they would not feel comfortable paying for goods and services with their mobile phone.
How secure is Apple Pay?
Well, according to Apple, the new Apple Pay contactless payment app is more secure than taking your card out of your wallet and presenting it to the cashier. This is because it prevents you from having to present a card, which includes your name – so it is possible for someone in the queue or a cashier to identify you – and you do not have to use your PIN either, meaning no-one can look over your shoulder to see your secret number.
There are no debit or credit card numbers stored on your iPhone 6 Apple Pay app, or even on the Apple servers, so these details are not transferred to or shared with merchants, plus there are other high-end security features, such as needing your fingerprint to authorise payments, and encrypted ID numbers that replace your credit and debit card details. Even so, many people will still be reluctant to use the technology, even though the Apple Pay security is high. But unless you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or the Apple Watch, Apple Pay contactless payments will not be available to you. So it may take a little time for this technology to take over the market. When it comes to Apple Pay, iPhone 5S users particularly will be disappointed as although they have the Touch ID facility, the iPhone 5S does not have the SE chip to generate the code needed to transmit your credit and debit card numbers.
Where can I use Apple Pay when it is launched?
The Apple Pay UK release date was accidentally confirmed in a Twitter post – hastily removed – by HSBC bank as being July 14, and it is anticipated that it will be possible to use it in more than 250,000 locations, with the likes of Boots, the Post Office, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, BP, Subway, Costa, Pret, Lidl and Wagamama already signed up.
With the Apple Pay UK launch imminent, will my bank be signed up?
Various banks and building societies are UK Apple Pay launch partners, including NatWest, RBS (part of the same group), Santander, Nationwide, and Ulster Bank. Card issuers live on launch day include Mastercard, Visa and MBNA – one of the UK’s biggest credit card providers. Not surprising, given that MBNA’s parent Bank of America was part of the original Apple Pay launch in the US in October 2014. Others are sure to follow in the not-too-distant-future.