Apple Pay expanding to UK with initial 250,000 retailers onboard

June 12, 2015 - 

Nearly a year after it launched in the U.S., Apple Pay is finally expanding to the United Kingdom next month with an initial 250,000 participating retailers, according to a report by SF Gate.

Meanwhile, the payment service is poised to become available in more than 1 million U.S. locations by next month.

According to a report by KnowYourMobile.com, bank support for Apple Pay will arrive in in two phases.

The first phase will take place in July and will include First Direct, HSBC, NatWest, Nationwide Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank.

The second phase will occur at some point in “autumn” and will include the Bank of Scotland, Coutts, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, MBNA, M&S Bank and TSB Bank.

Though Barclays has not yet signed on as a banking partner of Apple Pay, the bank recently tweeted that it is “talking with Apple about how our customers could use Apple Pay in addition to our existing mobile and payment services, and that these talks remain constructive”.

On launch, Apple Pay in the UK will work with American Express, MasterCard and Visa Europe credit and debit cards, with additional support for Discover cards to arrive this autumn.

Additionally, Apple Pay will be immediately available at over 250,000 retail locations in the UK at launch, which is 20% more locations than what Apple Pay originally launched with in the US last October.

Major retailers offering Apple Pay support include Boots UK, BP, Costa Coffee, Dune, JD Sports, KFC UK & Ireland, Liberty, LIDL, Marks & Spencer (M&S), McDonald’s UK, Nando’s, New Look, Post Office, Pret A Manger, SPAR, Starbucks, SUBWAY stores, Wagamama and Waitrose.

Upon launch, most Apple Pay transactions will be limited to £20 or less. Any purchases exceeding this amount will require the customer to use their chip and pin card.

The £20 limit is the result of previously enforced safety measure built into the contactless payment terminals, however, the limit will be raised to £30 come September.

Some retailers will allow Apple Pay users to make higher value purchases if they have installed newer hardware that supports high value purchases if the customer is using a biometric authentication method, such as Apple’s Touch ID.

Transport for London announced that it will support Apple Pay for all tube, rail, and bus journeys in the city.

Meanwhile, UK payment service firm Sage Pay recently announced that it will integrate Apple Pay into its service.

For the past month, the company’s innovation team has been conducting Beta testing to ensure all of its card terminals are able to accept Apple Pay transactions when it becomes available in the UK.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.