Contactless system will allow users to make payments using iPhones or Apple Watch in more than 250,000 locations
Apple’s contactless service Apple Pay will launch in the UK in July, the US manufacturer announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday.
iPhone users will be able to use the payments service in more than 250,000 locations- more than the amount available when it first launched in the US last year.
Apple said Pay will be supported by more than 70 per cent of the credit and debit card providers in the UK, with participating retailers including Marks & Spencer, Costa and Waitrose.
Transport for London has also signed up, meaning travel on the London Underground and bus services can be paid for using an iPhone or Apple Watch.
The UK will become the first place outside of the US to get access to the service, which launched in September alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
“Apple Pay has quickly become a big part of millions of users’ everyday shopping routines, providing a simpler, faster and more secure way to pay,” said Apple senior VP of internet software and services Eddy Cue.
“We’re thrilled to bring Apple Pay to the UK with support at launch from the most popular banks, an incredible roster of merchants and many of our users’ favourite apps.”
Apple Pay works utilising the Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip found in an iPhone or Apple Watch, similar to contactless payments on a credit or debit card.
The iPhone-maker said it has also included an additional layer of security in to the process, called “tokenisation”, which ensures card details stored on the phone are never passed to a retailer. This is achieved by giving the user a unique, one-use “token” that allows them to make the payment, but does not disclose any details.
Apple Pay will support UK credit and debit cards from American Express, MasterCard and Visa Europe, issued by banks, including first direct, HSBC, NatWest, Nationwide Building Society, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank.
Other major banks are set to follow in coming months, including Bank of Scotland, Coutts, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, MBNA, M&S Bank and TSB Bank. Barclays has not signed up for the service.
Fujitsu UK director of retail banking Anthony Duffy said he expects the launch of Apple Pay to act as a major stimulus in the development of electronic wallets in the UK.
He added: “Apple Pay’s announcement that it will land in the UK this summer is exciting and to be welcomed and itt will also provide Apple with a head start over rivals Android Pay and Samsung Pay, neither of which have announced plans yet to enter the UK market.
“Those who are already familiar with using contactless payments will soon find that using an electronic wallet via their mobile phone is a simple and logical next step. Indeed, the growth in contactless payments is already growing and looks set to accelerate further, driven by three key developments – increased consumer comfort in using non-traditional payment options; a continued shift to internet shopping; and the appearance of new, additional payment options such as Apple Pay.”