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Apple Pay goes live in the UK: Here’s how to use it


It’s been a while coming, but Apple Pay is now live in the UK. If you own an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, or an Apple Watch connected to an older iPhone, you now have the option of paying for purchases without cards or cash. But how do you set it up, where can you use it, and how much can you spend? These are all questions you might, quite rightfully, need answering before you even think about going on an iPhone-fuelled spending spree. That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a handy cheat sheet that explains all you need to know about Apple Pay in the UK. Read on to learn more.

What does it do?

Apple Pay is a service that allows you to buy things in physical stores, as well as in apps and online. Inside the latest iPhones is an NFC chip that can wirelessly communicate with payment terminals in hundreds of thousands of shops all over the UK. Once you’ve paired a credit or debit card to your Apple Pay account, you can simply touch your iPhone against a card reader and approve the purchase with your fingerprint. That’s it, job done.

Developers and online retailers can also incorporate Apple Pay checkout buttons into their apps and websites. Instead of wading through a complicated payment form, you can hit the Apple Pay button and immediately charge whatever you’re buying to a card connected to your account.

How do I set it up?

First, you’ll need to update to the latest version of iOS. Once you have that, you’re all set.

Next up is adding your cards. The majority of UK banks are on board, including Lloyds, Halifax, Natwest, HSBC, Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland, American Express, Nationwide, First Direct and TSB. However, not all will be available on day one (see graphic below). On your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, open the Passbook app and tap the + icon next to Apple Pay in the top-right corner. If you already have a card bound to your iTunes account, you’ll be prompted to input its three-digit CVV code and it’ll automatically be added.

For new cards, you’ll be asked to snap a photo of the card you want to add with the iPhone’s camera. You might need to add a few extra bits of information (including the three-digit security code), which your bank will then verify. What you need to enter manually will depend on which bank you’re with, but once you’ve completed the verification process, you’re ready to use Apple Pay.

Note: As Apple Pay rolls out, you may find that the option takes a while to display in Passbook. To force it through, change your iPhone’s language to United States in Settings – General – Language & Region and add your debit or credit cards. Once you’ve added them, simply switch back to the UK and the cards you have added will remain available.

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