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Apple Pay – Contactless payment with your iPhone

Apple Pay – Contactless payment with your iPhone

Apple’s new ‘Apple Pay’ payment system is a new way of paying with your iPhone. We explain how it works and what to be aware of.

Apple Pay takes off where contactless payment left off, bringing the convenience of swiping for payments to your iPhone.

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You need a compatible credit card or bank account to use Apple Pay - find a credit card you could use with Apple Pay

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The idea is that eventually you won’t need your real wallet, but rather all your cards will be stored digitally on your phone. But how exactly does it work, and what are the benefits and risks?

What banks are on ApplePay?

Apple Pay launched in the UK on the 15 April 2015, at the time it was only available on iPhone 6, Apple Watch and iPad Air 2, but most Apple technology released since is compatible. But whether you can use it depends on whether your bank supports ApplePay (though most banks now do).

Banks that support ApplePay:

  • American Express
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Barclaycard
  • Barclays
  • Clydesdale Bank
  • Cumberland Building Society
  • Danske Bank
  • First Direct
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • John Lewis Finance
  • Lloyds
  • M&S Bank
  • MBNA
  • Metro Bank
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • NatWest
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander
  • Starling Bank
  • Tesco Bank
  • The Co-operative Bank
  • TSB
  • Ulster Bank
  • Yorkshire Bank

Apple Pay – How it works

Apple Pay is a new way of paying for goods with your phone instead of your card or physical money.

The technology works by registering an existing bank card to your iPhone 6. Simply take a picture of your card in Apple’s ‘Passbook’ to automatically enter your card details, or enter them manually.

You then add any security details and your card is stored. Just like your actual wallet you can add multiple cards to your Passbook, so you can pay with different cards on the same phone.


The technology works just like contactless payment once your card is added. Apple pay proposes to do the same thing, but with your phone

Just hold you iPhone over the contactless reader and press your finger to activate Apple’s ‘touch id’, which authorises the payment using your fingerprint.

Where can I use ApplePay?

ApplePay works exactly like a contactless payment card, but as you have to use your thumb print to open the app, there's no limit as this is considered as good as entering your PIN.

You can use ApplePay on at contactless payment terminals as you would with any contactless payment card.

This means that older card machines that only use chip and pin won’t be able to accept Apple Pay.

Security concerns

The major concern for Apple Pay is security, particularly with recent reports from the US stating that there has been a high level of fraud in the US since its launch.

The fraud being committed in America is not a hack of Apple Pay’s encryption. Rather they are registering stolen personal information and getting Apple to set up a victim’s card on the criminal’s iPhone.

Apple’s security system works by giving each card you add a Device Account Number, which is encrypted and added to the chip on your phone.

This account number, along with a security code issued for each purchase, is then used to authorise each payment.

Benefits of Apple Pay

The main selling point of Apple Pay is simply convenience. By registering your cards on your iPhone Apple hopes to eliminate the need of carrying a wallet around with you, and ultimately, of carrying cash.

That could also mean greater security as you don’t have to worry about losing your wallet and even if your phone is stole, Apple’s fingerprint ID system should stop criminals from using Apple Pay on your phone.

Alternatives to Apple Pay

The major alternatives to Apple Pay is Android Pay for Android phone users, and contactless payment, widely available on credit and debit cards.

Compare Credit Cards

You need a compatible credit card or bank account to use Apple Pay - find a credit card you could use with Apple Pay

Compare credit cards

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