Apple Pay is now live in the UK. Here’s a break down of what it is, how it works and where you’ll be able to use it.

Barclays now supports Apple Pay in the UK, meaning ALL major banks are now onboard with Apple’s mobile payments system. Apple launched Apple Pay in the UK in July last year with Santander, Natwest and RBS. HSBC, Lloyds and Halifax joined shortly thereafter but it was not until April 2016 that Barclays joined the fray.

“We are really excited about the launch of Apple Pay and will bring Barclays debit cards and Barclaycard credit cards to Apple Pay in future,” said Barclays in a tweet.

Excited is one thing. Why it took over 9 months for Barclays to sort out support for Apple Pay is another thing entirely. Although its reluctance likely has a lot to do with the bank’s own mobile payment system, bPay.

Apple Pay currently works on five models of iPhone (the 6, 6s and SE generations) and all three versions of the Apple Watch thanks to embedded near-field communication (NFC) chips.

As expected, Apple has already made sure Apple Pay is cosy with most major leading high street brands you’ll see out and about in the UK, to give just a small sample this includes Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, the Post Office, Boots, McDonalds, Lidl, Wagamama, Boots, BP, KFC, Subway, Liberty, Nando’s, New Look, and Pret A Manger.

“Apple Pay has already transformed mobile payments for businesses in the US and the UK launch gives consumers here the ability to get what they want, when they want it. We expect adoption rates to be much higher in the UK given the existing contactless infrastructure to support its use. In addition to NFC payments, Apple Pay will also transform in-app purchases making them even quicker and more seamless. The arrival of Apple Pay could even see the eventual demise of chip-and-pin terminals, as merchants look to reduce their hardware costs and focus on in-app payments. Given the ease of paying in-app via Apple Pay, that future is not far away,” said Dennis Jones, CEO, Judo Payments.

“Research shows nearly 7 in 10 consumers abandons the online checkout process due to poor checkout design and a slow checkout process. The ease of Apple Pay will see that figure fall dramatically. Apple Pay’s TouchID authentication simplifies other methods of payments authentication and it’s arguably even more secure. We’re witnessing the beginning of a tidal wave of change in the way we pay for goods and services and taking another step towards a cashless and cardless future.”

At launch there are already 250,000 Apple Pay-ready point of sale tills across the UK, so the likelihood is you’ll run into one pretty quickly, and of course this number is set to expand over time. Anyone with an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus (or an Apple Watch) can start purchasing goods and services with their device on Apple Pay straight away using these tills.

There is currently a £20 cap on spending for each Apple Pay service just as their is for contactless payments, however, this is set to increase in September at the same time that Apple Pay will expand to include other UK banks, including Halifax, Lloyds and the Bank of Scotland.

Apple Pay is Apple’s contactless mobile payments system and app-based purchasing system. For contactless payments Apple Pay works with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch. Apple Pay can also be used to make in-app purchases. In those cases, Apple Pay works with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. For contactless payments, Apple Pay transmits secure tokens over the NFC chips found in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch. On the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users authenticate their purchases using the Touch ID and on the Apple Watch users authenticate their purchases when the Watch is initially strapped to their wrist.

Apple Pay has been available in the US for almost 12 months now. Apple Music also launched to the masses on june 30, and you can read all about the service and its streaming features in our Apple Music: Everything You Need To Know article. 

The service has been beloved by iPhone 6 users in the US since its debut last October, and iPhone 6 users on this side of the pond will be glad to finally have the service available over here. Yet there will be some differences due to regional regulations, infrastructure, and partnerships. Here’s everything you need to know about Apple Pay in the UK.

What Cards Work With Apple Pay UK?

Apple Pay in the UK will work with American Express, MasterCard and Visa Europe credit and debit cards. Support for Discover cards is coming this autumn.

What Retailers Supporting Apple Pay In The UK?


At launch in July Apple Pay in the UK will be available at over 250,000 retail locations. That’s 20% more locations than what Apple Pay originally launched with in the US (now in the US Apple Pay is available at over 1 million retail locations). Major retailers that will support Apple Pay this July include Boots UK, BP, Costa Coffee, Dune, JD Sports, KFC UK & Ireland, Liberty, LIDL, Marks & Spencer (M&S), McDonald’s UK, Nando’s, New Look, Post Office, Pret A Manger, SPAR, Starbucks, SUBWAY stores, Wagamama and Waitrose.

Are There Transaction Limitations For Apple Pay?

Yes. Upon launch most Apple Pay transactions will be limited to £20 or less. If your purchase is greater than £20 you’ll need to use your chip and pin card. This isn’t an Apple-imposed limitation. The £20 limit is hardcoded into contactless payment terminals. However, come September these contactless payment terminals will raise their transaction limits to £30.

And there’s one other caveat – some retailers will allow you to make even higher value purchases because they’ve installed newer hardware that supports high value purchases if your contactless authentication method is biometric (as the Touch ID authentication for Apple Pay is).

Can I Use Apple Pay On Public Transport?

Yes! And this is the most awesome feature of Apple Pay in the UK (if you live in London anyway). Transport for London has announced that it will support Apple Pay for all tube, rail, and bus journeys in the capital. Making the announcement TFL’s Director of Customer Experience Shashi Verma said, “With around one in ten of all contactless transactions in the UK now taking place on our transport services in London, we are delighted to welcome Apple Pay as another new and convenient contactless way for our customers to pay for their travel. I would encourage anyone who uses pay as you go to try contactless. There’s no need to top-up, just touch in and out with your mobile device, credit or debit card.”


Apple Pay 100% Backed By UK’s Major Banks — Including Barclays | Know Your Mobile. 2016. Apple Pay 100% Backed By UK’s Major Banks — Including Barclays | Know Your Mobile. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 08 April 2016].