Apple Pay officially launches in UK with initial 250,000 supporting retailers

Apple announced earlier this morning it has officially launched its contactless payment service, Apple Pay, following an accidental tweet by an HSBC customer support representative that revealed its impending launch, according to a report by Techcrunch.

Apple announced last month it is expanding Apple Pay to the UK in July with an initial 250,000 participating retailers, but did not specify the exact date

The majority of the 250,000 physical locations that will accept Apple Pay have a £20 ($31) limit on transactions, but there are at least two businesses — eatery franchises Pret a Manger and Bill’s – that are accepting limitless transactions.

Meanwhile, UK banks and businesses have a £20 limit on contactless transactions in an effort to reduce fraud with contactless cards, but will increase the limit to £30 ($46) in September.

The transaction cap is purely self-imposed, as merchants are able to extend or remove the limit.

Some retailers may decide to offer limitless transactions as it will help lower the barrier to customers making more expensive purchases.

It remains to be seen whether Apple Pay transactions will drive commerce for physical payments as the Apple iPhone currently does for online transactions.

The 250,000 locations that are offering Apple Pay support at launch is higher than the 220,000 locations that were offered at the payment service’s US launch service last October.

Supporting credit card companies will include American Express, MasterCard and Visa Europe, while many of the UK’s most popular banks are now accepting Apple Pay, including NatWest, Nationwide Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Ulster Bank and MBNA.

HSBC and first direct will also join this list later this month, along with the Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank and TSB Bank this fall.

Merchants include Bill’s, Boots UK, BP, Costa Coffee, Co-op, KFC UK, Le Pain Quotidien, Liberty, LIDL, Marks & Spencer (M&S), McDonald’s UK, Nando’s, Post Office, Pret A Manger, SPAR, Starbucks, SUBWAY stores, TfL, Wagamama and Waitrose, among others.

Some other merchants who have committed to supporting Apple Pay later this year include Screwfix, Wilko, EAT, Costcutter, Five Guys, JD Sports, Dune, New Look, among others.

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