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July 14, 2015updated 04 Apr 2017 4:02pm

Apple Pay UK is live

It is here, finally. Apple Pay is ready to use in the UK if you have an iPhone 6 or 6Plus, Apple Watch, iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3.

By Franchesca Hashemi

It is here, finally. Apple Pay is ready to use in the UK if you have an iPhone 6 or 6Plus, Apple Watch, iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3. Franchesca Hashemi writes

Bearers of the above hardware woke this morning to find Apple Pay ready for initiation: a user should first add their card details to Passbook, Apple’s ready-to-go payment platform, then follow the instructions and wait for verification. Once this is done, Apple Pay can be used 250,000 locations across the UK. It can also be used within apps that have the Apple Pay symbol.

The customer is required to tap their Apple device onto the retailer’s contactless payment machine , then insert their fingerprint into the handset’s screen. This confirms identity and allows the payment to proceed.

It sounds simple however some users have been unable to access Apple Pay.

Chiefly, HSBC account holders have to wait until ‘later in July’ to access Apple Pay, according to the tech-giant’s website. This is in stark contrast to Apple’s press release from June, which positioned HSBC second in a fourteen-strong list of Britain’s "most popular banks". HSBC was also described in the same press release as Apple Pay ready on the day of launch.

In an interview with the BBC, a HSBC spokesperson denied the bank was being punished for accidently Tweeting the secret launch date on Sunday 12 July 2015.

First Direct, a subsidiary of HSBC, has also been unable to offer its customers Apple Pay. The bank was previously named as a key launch date partner by Apple.

Therefore, banks supporting Apple Pay at the point of launch are NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, Santander and MBNA. Card holders of MasterCard, American Express and Visa also have immediate access.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Barclays last minute admission that it will offer Apple Pay to its customers come late July, regardless of its new wearable electronic payment line ‘bPay’.

Figures for Apple Pay’s UK uptake will take a while to break through. However, a 2014 report by ITG Market Research into US consumer’s adaptation found that 60% of Apple Pay customers used the payment service on multiple days throughout the first 4 weeks after release.

Within the first 6 weeks of the brand’s US introduction, ITG Market Research found that Apple Pay made up 1.7% of the American m-payment market, while rival service Google Wallet [available only in the US] reached 4%. The same report found that Apple Pay’s top three retailers for the first six weeks were Whole Foods, Walgreens and McDonalds.

This, according to the report, showed "strong customer engagement" considering the restricted service available to Apple customers with the latest devices.

Retailers accepting Apple Pay in the UK include the Post Office, Lidl, Wagamama, Transport for London, Boots, Marks and Spencer and Transport for London. Although most outlets which provide a contactless payment machine should support Apple Pay.

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