All You Need to Know About Apple Pay

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on July 9, 2015, How To Guides

If you’ve got a new iPhone, then you might be excited to learn that Apple’s Apple Pay system is just about to launch in the UK. Available in the US since last year, Apple Pay is a digital payment revolution, and one that’s not only going to make your life easier, but that could also make your financial records more secure. Interested in learning more? Then read on…

What is Apple Pay?

Apple pay is a digital wallet, which basically means that rather than needing to carry cash or a credit or debit card around with you, you can simply pay for things using your phone. Cool, right? The system uses a combination of NFC (Near Field Communication) which allows your phone to communicate with another device (like a cash register), and Apple’s fingerprint ID system to give you complete security.

How Do I Use It?

Before you can use Apple Pay, you’ll need to set it up. Firstly, you’ll need an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, or a new Apple Watch. Other iPhones are not currently equipped to work with Apple Pay. You’ll then need to go into Passbook (an app which should be downloaded by default onto your device, if it’s not just get it from iTunes). Passbook will allow you to add any credit or debit card that is associated with your iTunes account into the Apple Pay system.

When you go to a retailer that supports Apple pay, all you need to do is tap your phone against the pay terminal and hover your finger over the fingerprint sensor to authenticate the transaction, and payment will be made through whichever credit or debit card you’ve selected in Passbook. You don’t need to open your phone or look at the screen, your phone will vibrate when the payment is successful. You will need to ensure that NFC is turned on on your device, however, and you can find that in the settings menu.

Is It Secure?

The goal of Apple Pay isn’t just convenience, it’s also security. When you pay with a credit or debit card directly then a retailer can get certain information about you, and the unscrupulous can even steal your credit card number. Apple Pay takes that danger away. No retailer will get any information about you at all when you use Apple Pay. Using the fingerprint sensor means that no one other than yourself can authenticate payments either.

What happens if you lose your phone? Then you’ll need to go into Apple’s “Find My Phone” programme from your PC and select your device. From there, you can either mark the phone as lost, which will suspend all payment activity from the phone until you find it, or completely wipe your phone data so that no one can get hold of it.

In terms of security, it’s tough to imagine anything more secure just at the moment…

Can I Use Apple Pay Everywhere?

No, not yet. More and more UK retailers are signing up for the programme, but right now it is limited. Currently you will be able to use Apple Pay at: Starbucks, JD Sports, Dune, KFC, New Look, Nando’s, Subway, Spar, Wagamama, Pret, BP, M&S Simply Food, Waitrose, Costa, Boots, Liberty, M&S, Post Office, McDonald’s, and Lidl. That’s quite a list! You’ll also be able to use Apple Pay at all Transport for London points, including buses, the underground and trains.

Are There Card Limitations?

Yes, there are restrictions to which cards are accepted by the system. You’ll need a Visa Europe, Master Card, or American Express card from one of the following UK banks: NatWest, HSBC, Nationwide Building Society, First Direct, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank or Santander. A further group of banks are set to join the Apple Pay system later this year, including: Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Coutts, MBNA, Lloyds Bank, TSB Bank and M&S Bank.

It’s Not Just Physical, But Online Too!

As well as using Apple Pay at physical retail locations, you’ll also be able to use it for online payment but only through certain apps. The list of apps that support Apple Pay grows every day, but for major UK retailers you’ll be able to use Apple Pay in the following apps: Addison Lee, Airbnb, Argos, Booking.com, British Airways, Domino’s, easyJet, Hailo, Hotel Tonight, hungryhouse, JD Sports, Just Eat, lastminute.com, Miss Selfridge, Ocado, Stubhub, thetrainline.com, Top10, Topshop, uncover, Vueling, Yplan, Zalando and Zara.

How Do I Know if Apple Pay is Accepted?

Okay, so not all branches in a retail chain will be immediately connected to the Apple Pay system, though most will. If you want to know if an individual shop accepts Apply Pay then look for the Apple Pay symbol at the entrance or by the cash register. The symbol is a rectangle with the Apple logo followed by the word Pay.

But I Get Rewards for Using My Credit Cards!

Not to worry, you’ll get all the same benefits for using your credit card as you normally do, even though you’re using your card through Apple Pay. Whether that’s points, air miles or even insurance for your purchases, using Apple Pay in this sense is identical to using your credit card itself.

And there you have it, everything you need to know about Apple Pay. The only thing that we can’t tell you is exactly when it will launch, all we know is that it’s some time in July. That means that it may have already launched by the time you read this article! If you’re looking for a way to make your financial transactions more private, more secure, and more convenient, then that’s exactly what Apple Pay has to offer. All you need to do is set up your account, and then it’s time to go shopping!