Small businesses welcome Apple Pay UK

Apple Pay
Rachael Power
Small Business Editor
Sift Media
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New contactless payment system Apple Pay has launched in the UK today, and many payments businesses have been welcoming its emergence into the market.

The payment system works for users of iPhone 6 in much the same way as contactless debit cards.

All users need to do is hold their device against a participating vendor's contactless reader for goods or services up to £20.  This is expected to rise to £30 later in the year.

It also works with Apple Watch.

UK small businesses have been discussing its merits, ranging from having the potential to grow firms, to opening doors to new customer demographics, to 'shaking up' the payments industry.

Jason Richelson, CEO and Founder of Shopkeep, says from research it carried out in the UK, consumer-facing businesses don't think it will change how they work. 

"Our experience in the US says this thinking is flawed. Business owners in the US that have been quick to embrace mobile payments are growing three times faster than the national average, and going out of business much less often." 

The rise in contactless technology to pay for products and serivces such as on London's underground, means Richelson predicts consumers will adopt the new tech at a higher rate than the US. 

"People will expect cashless transactions wherever they go and if smaller business in particular want to prosper, they must embrace the technology. These systems have become readily available and inexpensive over the last few years and implementing them will assist in delivering an improved customer experience. Put it this way, any business that wants to exist in the future has to prepare for it," he said.

In addition, Raj Sond, General Manager, First Data Merchant Solutions said the launch was a "fantastic opportunity for small businesses".

“Consumers – particularly the younger, more tech savvy audience – are much more likely to forget their wallet than their iPhone, which may open doors for SMEs to do businesses with a whole new customer segment. An increase in contactless transactions will also reduce the burden of cash management for small businesses, and the time SME owners and their staff must dedicate to ‘behind the scenes’ admin.”

Danielle Levitas, SVP Research & Analysis, App Annie, says the success and proliferation of mobile banking in the UK shows there is an appetite for change in how people pay for goods.

"Although Apple Pay is not the first of its kind, the company's reach and ability to evanglise is central to driving mobile payments adoption. Apple doesn't need to have a monopoly in payments to drive change in consumer behavior and retailer POS systems," she said.

How to use Apple Pay

After registering your card via Apple Wallet, holdyour finger on Touch ID while near a contactless reader. A vibration and a beep will let you know you've paid.

You can also use it within apps on newer versions of the iPad and iPhone 6. Its setup is relatively simple - you register your cards through Passbook, which already exists on your iPhone and is used to store tickets and boarding. Add your credit or debit card from your iTunes account by entering your security number.


Instead of using credit and debit card numbers, users are given  a unique Device Account Number (DAN) which is encrypted and securely stored in a dedicated chip in iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch and the numbers aren't stored on Apple servers.

When you buy something, users' actual credit or debit card numbers aren't shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.

But, do remember to enable the Find my Device app as if you lose your phone you can use this to wipe it from afar.

Banks on board with Apple Pay include RBS, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds and TSB.

And don't worry - for all you non-Apple owners, Samsung Pay is coming soon too. 


Would you use Apple Pay in your business, either as a consumer or a vendor?


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