Barclays has finally announced it will support Apple Pay, allowing UK consumers to make purchases using their iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad, after several delays in the bank committing to join the service since it launched in July 2015.
Apple’s payment system, which was launched in Britain last July, is currently supported across 400,000 contactless locations in the UK, as well as the London transport network.
Barclays is the last major bank to support the platform, with their logo now added to the list of participating banks on the Apple Pay page on Apple's website. Other UK banks still absent from the Apple Pay list include the Co-operative Bank, Yorkshire Bank and Harrods Bank.
Barclays resistance to adopting Apple Pay may be due to the fact that it has its own contactless payment system, bPay, which was launched in June last year.
The bPay service came with a wristband, fob and sticker that users could wear and it could also be integrated into smartphones.
The bank’s announcement comes as new figures show that contactless payment systems are enjoying a meteoric rise in use by consumers.
The maximum amount that can be spent contactlessly increased from £20 to £30 in September 2015. The increase apparently had a transformative effect on consumer spending habits in the UK, with a 237 per cent rise in usage between October 2015 and March 2016 compared to the same period year-on-year according to new analysis from Visa Europe.
It has proven particularly popular at service stations, supermarkets and restaurants and now accounts for more than 10 per cent of all face-to-face card transactions below £30.
With petrol prices hovering around the 104 pence per litre mark, consumers can buy nearly 29 litres of petrol on contactless which is enough to drive from London to Cardiff and back.
“Since we introduced contactless to the UK in 2007, it’s changed the way consumers make everyday purchases by cutting out the hassle of handling cash,” said Amer Sajed, CEO of Barclaycard.
“With Barclaycard and Barclays bringing Apple Pay to our customers, we can now offer the widest choice of ways to make and take payments in a way that’s most convenient for them.”
Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Visa Europe said: “The trajectory for contactless payments continues to look very strong. Increasing the spending limit to £30 has clearly encouraged consumer adoption and retailer opportunity across Britain; families are now able to do their weekly supermarket shop and pay contactless; the increase has driven a demonstrable shift in consumer behaviour."