If you’ve ever had doubts about the future of paying, you might not like the new card-less paying service Apple Pay which launched in the UK yesterday.
While Contactless credit and debit cards allow customers to pay for things without the use of a pin number, Apple Pay looks to take things one step further, requiring just your smartphone to pay for any small purchases.
What is it?
Apple Pay is a way to make small purchases - up to the value of £20 - in thousands of stores using your smartphone or Apple Watch. You can register both (or either of) your credit and debit card with the service – providing your provider is participating. At the time of launch in the UK the participating providers are: AmEx, MBNA, Nationwide, NatWest, RBS, Santander and Ulster Bank, but others are set to join up soon.
How does it work?
Apple Pay works similarly to a Contactless card. All you need to do is hold your smart device near a contactless reader with your finger pressed on the Touch ID feature. The iPhone 6 is fitted with a ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC) antenna, which lets you pay without having to unlock your device first. A slight vibration lets you know the payment was successful.
To set up, you simply take a picture of your credit or debit card using the Passbook app and then verify that the card is yours. Alternatively, you can use the card hooked up to your iTunes account to make things even easier.
Who can use it?
Anyone with an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus or Apple Watch will be able to use the service. Unfortunately, earlier iPhone models won’t be able to make use of Apple Pay. However, if you have an Apple Watch but don’t have an iPhone 6, you’ll be happy to hear that you can also have a go if your watch is hooked up to an iPhone 5 model (iPhone 5, 5c or 5s).
Alongside this, you can make use of the service to make in-app purchases using the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. For some apps, that means you can order items online and pay just by using the fingerprint sensor – cutting out all the fiddly inputting of your card details.
Is it safe?
With all Contactless related payment methods, it’s normal to have a few concerns about the safety of your bank details. Yet in this case, Apple Pay assigns each user their own unique Device Account Number, which is never stored on Apple’s servers. As this number is used instead of the numbers on your card, your details won’t be shared with any retailers either.
The fingerprint technology present on the later iPhone models also means the only person that can pay using your smartphone is you.
Overall, it’s unlikely Apple Pay is going to affect the majority of us as it only applies to those with the latest iPhone models. Yet it may be a sign of things to come, and we could start to see smartphones becoming more involved with our finances as time passes.
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