Users of certain Apple devices will soon be able to pay for goods at some UK retailers including Boots and Starbucks and for travel on Transport for London simply by touching their handset or watch to a contactless reader.
The 'Apple Pay' contactless payment system, launched last October in the US, will arrive in the UK next month, the company revealed in a conference last night.
As well as shopping in stores – though there's no telling yet how many will accept it – you can use Apple Pay to make payments via selected apps, including those by Argos and Lastminute.com. See our Cheap Mobiles guide to cut costs if you're thinking of getting a new handset – though getting a new iPhone isn't MoneySaving.
Here's our Q&A on how it will work:
When will it launch in the UK?
Apple Pay will be available in the UK this July. Apple wouldn't answer our question on whether there's an exact date launch yet, it only told us that more information will be available as Apple Pay launches.
What devices will I be able to use it on?
You'll be able use Apple Pay if you have one of the following devices:
- Use in shops: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch paired with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
- Use in apps: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3.
Apple wouldn't answer our question on whether there's a minimum iOS requirement needed to run Apple Pay, it only told us that more information will be available as Apple Pay launches.
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What will the transaction limit be?
The current transaction limit for contactless payments in the UK is £20, although it's already been confirmed that this will rise to £30 from 1 September. This is important given Apple Pay will work in a similar fashion to contactless cards in stores, though it's unclear yet if the contactless limit will be the in-store limit.
In apps, given you can use Apple Pay with the likes of British Airways and Lufthansa, where large transactions are common, we await confirmation from Apple on whether the limit will be much higher when used that way.
How safe is Apple Pay?
Apple says your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared with retailers or transmitted with payments.
Instead, a unique 'Device Account Number' is assigned to your card, encrypted and securely stored in the 'Secure Element' – a dedicated chip in iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. Apple says these numbers are never stored on its servers.
So when you buy something, the Device Account Number and a transaction-specific security code are used to process the payment.
What if my device is stolen?
Apple says if your iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen, you can use its free 'Find My iPhone' app to put your device in 'Lost Mode' to suspend Apple Pay or wipe your device completely.
You can also stop the ability to make payments from credit and debit cards on your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch with iCloud. Apple says you need to log into iCloud.com and click on 'Settings'.
Which banks and credit card companies will offer Apple Pay?
Here's what the following major providers have told us they're doing:
- American Express: Will offer it to those with Amex-issued personal (and small business) cards when Apple Pay launches in the UK.
- Barclays: Says that it's in talks with Apple about how customers could use Apple Pay and that it cannot yet say whether it will sign up to the scheme.
- Capital One: Says it's "not participating in the initial rollout", but ise "closely evaluating Apple Pay and other digital innovations" as it "looks to deliver a next-generation customer experience".
- Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks: Customers will not be able to use Apple Pay when it launches, although the banks say they are "currently considering various opportunities to enable customers to take advantage of new and emerging payment options".
- Co-op Bank: Says it is "actively looking" into "future participation with Apple Pay".
- HSBC and First Direct: Will offer it to all credit and debit cardholders "soon after it launches in the UK".
- Lloyds Banking Group: (Includes Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland.) Will offer it from autumn. It adds that no further information will be available until nearer the launch.
- MBNA: Will offer it to all card holders when it launches in the UK.
- Nationwide: Will offer it to all credit and debit cardholders when it launches in the UK.
- NatWest and RBS: Will offer it to all credit and debit cardholders when it launches in the UK.
- Santander: Will offer it to all credit and debit cardholders when it launches in the UK.
- TSB: Will offer it to all credit and debit cardholders. An official launch date will be announced later this year.
Which retailers will accept the payments?
You'll be able to use Apple Pay to make purchases in the following UK shops and apps, and Apple's website claims more will be "added every day".
In store at:
- JD Sports
- Liberty London
- New Look
- Post Office
- Pret A Manger
- Transport for London (TfL)
Using the following apps:
- Addison Lee
- British Airways
- Five Guys
- JD Sports
- Just Eat
- Miss Selfridge
- Mr and Mrs Smith
Will I be able to use it overseas?
Apple wouldn't answer our question on whether Apple Pay can be used overseas, it only told us that more information will be available as it launches.
However, both Nationwide and MBNA confirmed that their customers will be able to use it abroad, where normal overseas fees will apply. Many of the other card providers we asked did not yet know the answer.
Currently, the scheme is available only in the US (and of course, soon the UK). If you use it abroad, ensure you make a specialist overseas card your default – see our 15 Cheapest Ways to Get Travel Money guide for the best buys.
Will Chargeback and Section 75 rules apple to payments made via Apple Pay?
The UK Cards Association has confirmed that if you have a problem with a purchase and need to claim a refund from your card provider via Section 75 or Chargeback, you'd be able to do this if you'd paid in store using Apple Pay.
However, it says it's not yet clear whether the same protection will extend to in-app purchases made via Apple Pay. It adds that it will know more about this when the service launches.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 says if you pay for something costing between £100 and £30,000, specifically on a credit card, the card company is jointly liable with the retailer if something goes wrong, meaning you can get your money back.
Chargeback, meanwhile, is a lesser protection than Section 75, but it works in a similar way to it on both on debit and credit cards and has no minimum amount (except on Mastercard, where it's £10).
How can I set up Apple Pay once it launches?
Apple has published the following instructions on its site, although it wouldn't answer our questions on the finer details of how this will work, it only told us that more information will be available as Apple Pay launches.
- So, to set up Apple Pay, you'll need to use Apple's 'Passbook' app, which already stores your boarding passes, tickets, coupons and more.
- To add credit or debit cards, you need to enter the card security code.
- The first card you add will be your default payment card, but Apple says you can choose a different card when paying or select a new default. When you use it, your chosen credit or debit card will be charged.
To add additional cards you'll need to:
- On iPhone: Within Passbook, tap the plus sign and follow the onscreen instructions.
- On iPad: Open 'Settings', tap 'Passbook & Apple Pay', then tap 'Add Credit or Debit Card'.
- On Apple Watch: Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap 'Passbook & Apple Pay', then tap 'Add Credit or Debit Card'.
How can I use Apple Pay when it launches?
- In shops: To pay using your phone, just hold it near the contactless reader with your finger on the Touch ID sensor. Apple says you don't have to look at the screen to know your payment has been made – a vibration and beep will let you know.
To pay with Apple Watch, just double-click the side button and hold the display of the watch up to the contactless reader. Apple says a gentle tap and beep confirm that your payment information has been sent.
- Via an app: There is an option to 'Buy with Apple Pay' on apps that are part of the scheme. You place your finger on the Touch ID sensor to confirm the transaction.