Apple Pay launched in the UK a couple of weeks ago – July 14th – and the mobile payment and digital wallet service has been picking up partners at quite a pace.
HSBC and First Direct now on board, joining existing partner banks American Express, MBNA, Nationwide, NatWest, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and the Ulster Bank. Halifax, the Bank of Scotland, M&S Bank, Lloyds and TSB are expected to be added in the autumn – and Barclays also claims it will be offering Apple Pay very soon.
This is the first time the service has been launched outside the US and is available to iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus users, as well as the Apple Watch.
Complete transactions can be made by holding a device close to a contactless reader while keeping a finger on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Online purchases can be made from the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 within apps.
Setup is simple through the Passbook feature already included on iPhones. This has been used to store boarding passes, tickets and coupons – and now it can be used with credit and debit cards.
Financial details can simply be added from the user's iTunes account to their Passbook by entering the card security code.
Any additional card details can be added within the Passbook app by tapping the plus sign and following onscreen instructions.
The first card you add will be your default payment card, but a different card can either be chosen at the point of payment, or set as the default.
Apple Pay is a more secure method of payment than traditional card methods. This is because the card holder's card number and identity are visible, whereas Apple Pay assigns a unique Device Account Number.
This is encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element – a dedicated chip housed in the device itself.
While security concerns have been raised over cloud breaches recently, these do not apply to Apple Pay, as the information is not stored on Apple servers. As a result, financial information is never shared or exposed at the point of purchase.
Even if the device is lost or stolen, Find My iPhone can be used to quickly put the device in Lost Mode, suspending Apple Pay or wiping the device completely clean.
Transaction information is not stored by Apple Pay, so no purchases can be linked back to the user.
A list of most recent purchases will be stored in Passbook for convenience, but these will not be held permanently.
Since a credit or debit card is not shown, the person's name, card number or security code are not revealed to the cashier, offering an additional layer of privacy.