I think the Brits will like Apple Pay

So today is Apple Pay day in the United Kingdom.

I always thought Apple should have launched Apple Pay first in the UK. Or at least, prioritised it faster. As a country, we are far happier with the contactless method of payment. The banks — in particular (and rather ironically) Barclays — have done a lot of work to boost the contactless profile.

I say ironic because sadly, Barclays and Barclaycard aren’t launching in the first wave today. I’m a huge Barclays contactless customer, thanks to their bPay wristband. I’ve also got a bPay sticker on the back of my iPhone 6 — which I use daily.

However now that Apple Pay is available… and now I can’t actually use my Barclays/Barclaycards with it… I don’t feel as content.

Adding the cards was child’s play this morning. I’ve got all my NatWest/RBS cards activated. I tried my M&S/John Lewis ones as I couldn’t remember who powered those… and I got the ‘sorry your issuer does not support Apple Pay’ message.


I do wonder just how much damage this does to the image of those brands who aren’t supporting Apple Pay. On the face of it, it’s ridiculous to evaluate an institution or brand based on whether they support Apple Pay. But Apple, as I have long maintained here on Mobile Industry Review, does strange things to the mind. There is a different reality when it comes to Apple. Fiercely (or maybe just ‘generally’) loyal Apple customers tend to get quite spirited with anything surrounding the brand.

Reading the reaction on Twitter today, I was struck by how much of it appeared to demonstrate the utter dejection of some customers at the ‘incompatibility’ of their banking institutions.

Just how much is the “Apple glow” worth?

And how bad will it be for customers of non-supported banks, having their friends rubbing Apple Pay in their faces at every single opportunity?

Will Apple Pay actually push people into opening banks with competing and ‘compatible’ institutions? I do wonder.

In the short term I can clearly see a load of excitement as newly connected Apple Pay customers rush out to find a contactless payment terminal (Quick tip: Pret, Boots, McDonalds, WH Smiths, Cafe Nero, M&S). I wonder how long this will last…

I can imagine it lasting for the Coffee run.

Further, I can imagine many individuals leaving their wallets at the office as they stroll out to get their morning coffee, delighting in being a further part of the Apple financial ecosystem.

And it’s that financial ecosystem where things could get particularly exciting in the next few years.

How long before you’ll be able to pay with your iTunes account? 😉

How long before your iTunes account is made the priority method of payment?

How long before your iTunes account becomes Apple Bank?

How long before you’re moving your overdraft and mortgage to Apple with 3 taps on the Apple Bank app? 😉

Bring it on.

I’m off to try out Apple Pay again.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

10 replies on “I think the Brits will like Apple Pay”

I’ve got all my finances with Lloyds and generally pretty happy, however seeing that they were only a ‘coming soon’ partner was enough to get me to signup for an Amex card so that I could use it on day1. I’m not sure if I’ll keep the amex once Lloyds are on Apple Pay, and I’m pretty sure right now it wouldn’t be enough of a pull to get me to move my current accounts over. I’m still a little skeptical that Apple Pay will be any easier than my current method of just tucking the contactless card into the front pocket of my phone case. Especially on the tube,

I’m a Barclays customer and a bit miffed, too. However, I’m also a Santander card customer and managed to add that card to Passbook yesterday. Unfortunately, I’m in Asia right now, so I can’t use it anyway. Oh dear….. 🙁

How does using it compare with the bPay band? I’m finding the band to be the most “frictionless” way to pay. While I admit that this is possibly one of the most first world of first world problems, is using Apple Pay more effort than just putting your wrist next to reader?

Does it automatically recognize that you’re making a payment, or do you have to bring up an app on the watch?

I don’t think the bPay band needs any buttons pressing *but* it’s effectively a contactless card on your wrist. Apple Pay is tokenised and offers transaction notifications. In the future I’d hope that experience gets even richer too.

There was something on the news today about problems using Apple Pay on the London Underground: “people touching in with an Apple Watch and out with an iPhone linked to the same Apple Pay account are being charged a maximum fare. This issue, which TfL describes as “card clash” is a result of how Apple Pay works”. I guess there will always be people who get caught out (“you’re holding it wrong”, etc).

It’s not unique to Apple Pay though. If you tap in and out with different contact less cards the same happens. The term ‘card clash’ originated when contactless was first launched and people swiping their wallets had pot-luck over which got picked up.

The education that’s needed is that your watch and phone are effectively different cards now even though they are linked to the same physical plastic.

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