Long after Apple Pay’s successful launch in the U.S., the contactless payment system is coming to the UK. Apple has already lined up more than 250,000 businesses who are accepting Apple Pay payments as of this week. British users with an iPhone 6 or an Apple Watch can start using Apple Pay immediately.
“Apple Pay has quickly become a big part of millions of users’ everyday shopping routines, providing a simpler, faster and more secure way to pay,” said senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue in a statement. “We’re thrilled to bring Apple Pay to the UK with support at launch from the most popular banks, an incredible roster of merchants and many of our users’ favorite apps.”
Apple Pay is expected to support American Express, MasterCard and Visa Europe, along with several major banks. Apple said in a statement that many of the banks not offering Apple Pay support at launch, including Lloyds Bank, MBNA, M&S Bank and TSB Bank will have Apple Pay support “by this fall.” Notably, Barclays does not yet support Apple Pay.
The UK’s bus and rail systems already supports Apple Pay and users have been able to travel without physical tickets. Retailers supporting Apple Pay in the UK include Boots UK, Costa Coffee, KFC UK, McDonald’s UK, Starbucks, Subway and others. Of course, all 39 Apple Stores in the UK are accepting Apple Pay payments.
Making payments with Apple Pay is meant to be a painless process. Typically, you press your finger to the Touch ID on your iPhone and hold it near the contactless payment reader. With the Apple Watch, the process is also fairly easy– you’ll need to push a side button twice and then hold the watch face near the reader. That may mean reaching across your body as you try to get through barriers at certain rail systems, but it’s better than digging around for your wallet.