Apple Pay coming to the UK in just 2 months

Apple PayGet your iPhone ready, according to the Telegraph Apple Pay will be launched in the UK within two months.

Obviously deals with UK banks will need to be in place, but with Mastercard and Visa being the predominant payment processors for all UK cards that shouldn’t be a major hurdle.

Currently Mobile Payments haven’t really taken off in the UK. Sure there have been forays by the likes of PayPal CheckIn, but they’ve not gone mainstream.

However there is one killer application which is going to kick start Apple Pay in the UK, and that’s the London Underground and bus network. The capital has had NFC terminals for years with their Oyster cards and are now aiming to ramp up contactless debit or credit card useage to replace the pre-paid Oyster cards. TFL already accept Apple Pay for American tourists on the Underground and if every Londoner with an iPhone starts swiping in and out of the tube on a daily basis that’ll give a huge instant user base in the UK.

If you think about it, what’s easier as you walk towards the turnstyle at an underground station, swiping your mobile phone which doubtless you’re probably already checking your Facebook or emails on, or digging in your purse or wallet for a debit card which takes two hands and you have to dig your card out otherwise multiple cards could be charged for the same trip.

Unlike in the US where NFC is being touted as a new technology with retailers needing to upgrade their point of sale equipment to use, in the UK NFC on the Underground is now 12 years old and widely used by most Londoners. Not only that but regular visitors and commuters in the capital are now using NFC debit/credit cards for the Underground as it’s quicker (and cheaper!) than queueing at a machine to buy a ticket.

Apple Pay is likely to be an instant success in London, what remains to be seen is how quickly major retailers around the country adopt it and even more so how quickly it’ll be before it becomes the norm for payments with smaller retailers.

One might also expect Google to accelerate plans to launch Android Pay in the UK, or be left behind as Apple Pay convinces people to switch to iPhones.