Apple Pay will be available in the UK from July 2015, vice president of Apple Pay business Jennifer Bailey has announced at the iPhone maker’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Users of the mobile payments service will also be able to add store credit, debit and loyalty cards to their Apple mobile wallet from “this fall”.
Apple Pay will arrive in the UK with the support of eight “of the most popular banks with more coming this fall”, Bailey said. Ulster Bank, NatWest, American Express, Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland, Nationwide, HSBC and First Direct will be the first to go live with Halifax, TSB, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, MBNA and M&S Bank to follow. Barclays, one of the UK’s “big four” banks and an NFC mobile payments pioneer, is a notable absence from the list.
The service will be available for use with 70% of the credit and debit cards in circulation in the UK today and users will be able to make Apple Pay transactions at 250,000 merchant locations and across the Transport for London (TfL) bus and underground network. Overall, one million merchant locations will accept Apple Pay from July.
US merchants Kohl’s, JCPenney and BJs are among the retailers that have signed up to include their store cards in Apple Pay later this year. Loyalty and rewards cards from Walgreens, Kohl’s and Dunkin’ Donuts will also be available in iOS 9 users’ mobile wallets.
When customers with a reward card make a mobile payment, Apple Pay will automatically present their loyalty card to the merchant’s POS terminals to ensure they always receive their rewards, Bailey added.
Apple Watch users will also be able to access their store and loyalty cards when using Apple Pay, VP of technology Kevin Lynch revealed during the keynote.
Small traders in the US will also have access to Apple Pay via a new Square mobile POS (mPOS) device that is available to pre-order today, free of charge to existing Square merchants.
“Last year we started with credit and debit cards and we now have over 2,500 banks supporting Apple Pay and, this fall, Discover will bring Apple Pay to the more than 50 million cardmembers,” Bailey explained.
“Popular merchants are also expanding their acceptance for Apple Pay including great retailers who will be supporting Apple Pay this year, including Trader Joe’s, Baskin-Robbins and JCPenney. These incredible brands join a great list of the biggest and best merchants supporting Apple Pay since our launch in October. For you basketball fans, if you’re lucky enough to have finals tickets, you’ll be able to pay for all your team logo wear at both arenas using Apple Pay.
“Small businesses are also important for us so we’re working with innovative companies like Square to enable millions of small businesses to accept Apple Pay. Square will launch a gorgeous new reader. Pre-orders are starting today on Square.com and these will be available in our Apple retail stores starting this fall.
“With fantastic support from merchants, both large and small, we’ll surpass one million locations accepting Apple Pay next month.”
“We have great momentum within apps as well,” Bailey added. “Apple Pay is so easy to use in-app, our developers are telling us they’re seeing more than two times increase in checkout rates and we’re adding new apps with Apple Pay to the App Store everyday.”
With iOS 9, “you’ll be able to add your store credit and debit cards. Store cards offer unique membership benefits and leading retailers like Kohl’s, JCPenney and BJ’s will be the first to offer their cards on Apple Pay. We will also add loyalty and rewards cards also with a great line-up of merchants. Kohl’s will bring [its] Yes2You program, Walgreen’s their Balance Rewards card and, for you coffee and donut lovers, Dunkin’ Donuts will bring Apple Pay to DD Perks to their stores beginning this fall.
“And Apple Pay automatically presents the right card so you’ll never miss a reward. With the expansion of Apple Pay and the new types of cards, we’ve decided it’s time to rename Passbook to Wallet. One place for all your credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, boarding passes and more. We told you last year that our ultimate goal was to replace the wallet and we are well on our way to doing just that. We couldn’t be happier with the progress towards our vision and with the momentum of Apple Pay.”
• Additional reporting by Rian Boden