Apple Pay has gone live in the UK, bringing its contactless payments to shops, banks and restaurants.
It works by allowing users to enter the details of their card if it is registered on iTunes, or by using the camera on an iPhone or iPad to photograph the card’s information.
The service then stores the card’s details on a secure chip in the iPhone or iPad, rather than on Apple’s servers, which the company says gives the user greater protection.
Once a card has been put on a compatible device and verified automatically by the bank, Apple Pay can be used for contactless payments with compatible terminals.
Many well-known high street brands are supporting the so-called “digital wallet”, including Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Boots, Spar, Waitrose, Costa Coffee, Pret a Manger, Starbucks and H&M.
Transport for London will allow commuters to pay with their iPhone or Apple Watch in place of their Oyster Card.
Several of the UK’s major banks and building societies are also involved, including RBS, Nationwide and Santander, with more to follow later in the autumn, such as Lloyds, HSBC and TSB. It has also received the support of Visa and Mastercard.
If you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or an Apple Watch you’ll be able to pay for items costing up to £20 in places with payment terminals that support near-field communication (NFC) contactless payments.
Users of iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will not be able to use Apple Pay in shops, but can use the service with the TouchID fingerprint scanner to make online and in-app payments.
Owners of the iPhone 5, 5S and 5C models will not be able to use Apple Pay unless their smartphone is paired with the Apple Watch.
Apple Pay can also be used to make more secure online and in-app payments using the service, as users will verify their identity using the iTouch fingerprint scanner on compatible iPhones and iPads.
Jeremy Nicholds, executive director of mobile at Visa Europe, said: “Consumer demand for mobile contactless payments, combined with the fact that 70% of people in the UK own a smartphone, means that the pieces of the puzzle are coming together for a seismic shift from plastic to digital.”