Apple Pay prepares for impending UK launch

Apple has confirmed Apple Pay is on the way to the UK after a successful North American launch - but what do you need to know ahead of its July arrival?

The technology company is hoping that it can revolutionise how consumers make purchases as a result of its contactless breakthrough, which will allow people to pay via their smartphones.

Most people who have either the iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus will be able to use Apple Pay, unless they are also a Barclays Bank customer. The bank is the only major UK financial services firm to have held back from Apple Pay, although "constructive" talks are ongoing.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Apple Pay is that it takes advantage of existing contactless technology, meaning over 250,000 establishments will support Apple Pay from the first day it is launched in the UK.

What you need

Joining the Apple Pay revolution is easy for those that possess an iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus, and a credit or debit card from a supporting bank.

Users who have the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3 or Apple Watch will also be able to sign up to Apple Pay.

All the major UK banks, except Barclays, are supporting Apple Pay, however customers who are with Halifax, Lloyds Bank, TSB, MBNA, M&S Bank, Coutts or Bank of Scotland will have to wait until the autumn to use Apple Pay. Card providers Visa, American Express and MasterCard are all supporting Apple Pay too.

Consumers and retailers will not have to pay to use Apple Pay in the UK. Apple is taking a cut from existing credit card transaction fees instead.

Is it secure?

Security is naturally one of the top concerns when any new technology is launched, and Apple has been quick to reassure consumers that Apple Pay is safe and secure to use.

Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner, as well as its Secure Element feature, have been incorporated into Apple Pay to ensure payments can be made safely. Apple is banking that biometric fingerprints cannot be forged, which seems to be a safe bet.

Due to the way Apple Pay works, credit card data is never actually transferred over to a retailer, adding a further layer of security. Apple has also stressed that data protection is at the heart of Apple Pay.

Who is on board?

Apple Pay users will immediately be able to pay for their travel across Transport for London’s network via their phone.

Nationwide chains such as Nando's, Starbucks, Pret A Manger and McDonald's are on board too, as are retailers including New Look, Lidl, Boots, Liberty and JD Sports.

The current transactional limit for contactless card payments is set at £20 but Apple Pay will allow each trader to set their own limit. Most retailers will keep this limit, which is set to rise to £30 in the Autumn. Some retailers may remove the limits altogether.

Apple Pay will also support one touch payments within mobile applications. Checking out will be easy as selecting Apple Pay and placing your finger on Touch ID. Apps that are confirmed to support Apple Pay include Addison Lee, British Airways, Domino's, Argos, Topshop, Just Eat, Zara, Ocado, Stubhub, easyJet and Hungryhouse.

North America - User feedback

Apple Pay swiftly became the most popular mobile payment method in the US on its launch towards the end of last year, but user feedback regarding the technology has been mixed.

A lack of online shopping support has been cited as one of the main issues with Apple Pay, while not all stores are on board with the new technology yet, blocking widespread adoption. Even in those shops that have Apple Pay, there have sometimes been problems such as delays.

However, the simplicity of Apple Pay has won praise, as has the fact that it is free to use.

Customers who are used to the user experience of Apple devices have found it easy to pick up, while the security features are also widely appreciated with data protection more important for members of the public than ever before.

Apple Pay may well be the future, but there are likely to be some initial teething problems when it finally arrives in the UK next month.

We want to hear from you!

We would really interested to hear your thoughts on Apple Pay. Do you think Apple Pay will revolutionise the way we make payments, or is it just a novelty?