Now that Apple has unleashed its Apple Pay service on the UK, albeit to a select number of banks and building societies, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to give it a go. No, I’m not going to say who I use, but all I will say is that the physical card I have is not contactless.
I like contactless payments. It’s quick, convenient, and providing the transaction isn’t over £20, handy for paying for stuff like coffee or riding London Transport services.
As I have the whole enchilada of Apple’s mobile devices (except the iPod), I can use Apple Pay across all of them. Even the iPad Air 2 – albeit for online services (I tested this with Just Eat – check out, put thumb on the fingerprint scanner, and you’ve paid).
Paying by Apple Watch is perhaps the best (and easiest) experience. The chap in McDonalds was completely confused when I double clicked the button on my watch and then held the watch against the card reader. A second later and the transaction was approved.
Later at Subway, I used my iPhone. Fired up the Passport app, held my finger against the fingerprint scanner/home button, then tapped against the card reader. Transaction approved.
No double charges, no errors – everything went through just fine.
But today it’s proven especially useful.
I regularly buy a coffee at Costa. While wearing my work out gear, this usually involves having to fumble about my backpack to get at my wallet to pay. But not any more. I can claim points through the Costa Passport card on the Apple Watch. Then I double click the side button to activate the payment card in Apple Pay and then charge the drink to it. All without fumbling around. One device – one payment, one loyalty card.
I have got to say I’m impressed with Apple Pay so far. Also happy that there are limits (£20 for now, £30 later) as while payments and transactions are secured by the device itself (for example, if I took my Apple Watch off – nobody can use it – it has to be on my wrist or unlocked with a special code – or both) – and the iPhone has the fingerprint sensor. This is considerably better security than physical contactless credit and debit cards.
Now, let’s hope the other banks and credit card companies mentioned hurry up and roll out support.