Apple Pay went live in the UK this week.
The UK is the first country outside the US to get Apple Pay, but what exactly is it? Apple markets the Apple Pay as a high-tech service that provides a hassle free credit and debit card alternative. No more cards that could be stolen or lost, just a phone to make all payments? Sounds good so far. Apple, however, are not the first to try the digital wallet, but they are the first to get such a large backing from UK businesses.
There are more than 250,000 locations in the UK that are set up to accept Apple Pay, with support from RBS, Natwest, Lloyds, Halifax and Santander. Once a user has added their payment card details from one of the supported banks, they can buy things from real-world locations by using just their iPhone. To trigger a payment the shopper must tap their phone on one of the contactless readers already used in the UK for tap-and-go sales. The handset’s fingerprint sensor confirms the user’s identity.
Incorporating Apple Pay into the daily running of a business may be big news in the UK, but some countries are far more advanced when it comes to these sorts of payments. Dan Wagner, CEO of Powa Technologies, is working with Denmark’s Danske Bank to help it usher in a new level of payments freedom in the country. He stated recently that “anyone wanting a glimpse of the future of cashless payments need only look overseas to Denmark, which has the lowest cash payment level in Europe and is currently considering removing obligation for some retailers to accept cash at all.”
It will take time for the UK to catch-up with Denmark, but businesses need to be ready for a new era. "Rather than seeing it as a challenge, they should take it as an opportunity to rethink their strategy," says Wagner. "Taking physical cash out of the equation creates a huge amount of freedom, enabling them to completely restructure the retail experience and do away with cumbersome tills and queues entirely.”
We predict that with the release of Apple Pay, contactless payments will fast become the most used form of payment in the UK. Is your company on track to move into this new era of cashless payments?
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