HSBC and First Direct customers can now use Apple Pay, two weeks after Apple’s new mobile payment system launched in the UK
The delay had resulted in many customers taking to Twitter to air their frustration at HSBC missing the launch date on Tuesday 14 July, despite expectations that HSBC, which also owns First Direct, would be among the first group of UK banks to launch Apple Pay.
HSBC appeared to have confirmed the launch date in a tweet just two days prior to the UK launch. The tweet was quickly deleted but not before it had been widely circulated on social media.
Nationwide, NatWest, Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, American Express and MBNA all launched as expected.
HSBC customers can now ‘load’ their debit and credit card details on to the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch in order to pay for purchases using their device’s in-built Touch ID fingerprint and near-field communication (NFC) technology.
Users hover their mobile over a contactless payment terminal and make the payment by holding their thumb or finger on the home button. There is no need for customers to enter a PIN. Purchases by Apple Watch involve double tapping the side buttons to select the correct card and holding it to the contactless payment reader.
Apple Pay works with Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards issued by participating UK banks. They will be joined later this year by Lloyds, TSB, M&S Bank and Halifax. Barclays, which already has a payment wristband and fobs, initially looked unlikely to be partnering with Apple Pay. The bank has since confirmed that it will launch the service “imminently”.
Apple Pay is available in more than 250,000 stores across the UK. Though key retailers, including Waitrose, M&S and Pret, were mentioned at launch, any store that currently accepts contactless card payment is likely to accept Apple Pay. It can also be used on the capital’s tubes, buses, DLR, trams and overground services with Transport for London becoming the first public transport operator to accept Apple Pay.
A dedicated page for merchants wanting to introduce Apple Pay has been launched. It states that Apple doesn’t charge merchants for using Apple Pay and says that if a merchant’s point of sale terminal is contactless then the retailer is “likely to accept Apple Pay without any changes”. The page also deals with questions on administering refunds and questions on fraud liability – in shops, Apple Pay transactions are treated in the same way as a retailer’s current credit and debit transactions.