A Quick Guide to Apple Pay

Apple Pay, a new payment solution from the tech giant behind the iPhone and iPad, has just launched. However, not everyone can use it and a lot of people simply aren’t sure exactly what it is or how it works. Here’s a quick guide to the essentials of Apple Pay:

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is essentially a way of using your Apple device (phone, tablet or watch) in place of your physical card at participating retailers and on London’s transport network. Your card details are stored on the device, and payments made through Apple Pay will be charged to that card even if you don’t have it with you. It’s a useful backup if you forget your card, or a way to avoid bringing both your phone and your card out with you at the same time.

To use it, you simply hold your device over a reader just as you would when using a contactless card. At the same time, either press your device’s Touch ID sensor or, in the case of the Apple Watch, double-press the side button to confirm you want to make payment. You can also use Apple Pay to quickly pay for purchases made through certain apps. Spend limits are set by stores; many have no limit, while others only accept the new service for payments of up to £20.

1Is it Secure?

As long as Apple’s security promises are upheld, Apple Pay doesn’t seem excessively risky. It works much like a contactless card, but offers extra security over that payment method as it requires a fingerprint ID.Bear in mind, though, that anybody else whose fingerprint is registered on your device, such as a family member, could potentially use Apple Pay with your device as well. It is also more secure by virtue of the fact that only Apple actually accesses your card details, instead of every retailer you make a payment to.

If your device is stolen, then hopefully the need for a fingerprint ID will stop the thief running amok with Apple Pay. At the least, it seems unlikely that it would fail to at least buy you time to take further steps. The free “Find my iPhone” service allows you to wipe a stolen device remotely, including your card details. You can also remove cards from Apple Pay by logging into iCloud or asking your card provider.

Who can use it?

Arguably the biggest problem with Apple Pay at this early stage is the fact that many common cards are not compatible. Currently, the service can accept cards from:

  • Santander
  • Nationwide
  • RBS
  • Natwest
  • MBNA
  • American Express

Cards for HSBC and First Direct will be added to the service later this month, and Halifax, Lloyds Bank and TSB are also planned to follow in the Autumn. Other cards may be added in the future, but there are currently no firm plans.

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