After HSBC accidentally sent out a Tweet stating that Apple Pay would be launching in the U.K., consumers have been waiting with bated breath — and finally, the newest digital payment service made its way across the Pond and officially launched on July 13.
According to reports from TechCrunch, there are eight banks in the U.K. that have already signed on as launch participants: American Express, First Direct, HSBC, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank.
Apple stated that about 250,000 locations would begin to accept the payments, including popular retail chains like Starbucks, BP, and Boots.
Apple Pay first launched in the U.S. in October 2014, but it has been slow to take off; researchers predicted at the beginning of 2015 that Apply Pay transactions would only account for less than 1% of all transactions this year.
The idea behind Apple Pay is focused on two details that have made Apple products, like the iPhone and Mac computer, wildly popular: simplicity and security. The BBC recently published an article explaining how Apple Pay works (since the U.K. is the first country, besides the U.S., to begin offering the payment service).
After purchasing one of Apple’s mobile devices, like an iPhone, consumers can upload their payment information to the payment platform and make purchases instantly; there is no special app for Apple Pay, but stores must have a contactless tap-and-go reader and the consumer must confirm his/her identity using a fingerprint scanner before the payment will go through.
But is Apple Pay actually worth the hype? A recent Gallup survey (December, 2014) shows confusing results: even though 65% of consumers in the U.S. are familiar with the service, only 6% of survey respondents stated that they were very likely to start using Apple Pay within the next 12 months.
In the U.K., it’s unclear whether consumers are any more interested in using Apple Pay. Currently, purchases are limited to small amounts — £20 max, increasing to £30 this September — but a number of financial institutions in the country have announced plans to offer Apple Pay later this year.