Apple Pay reach widens as hold-out UK banks finally roll out adoption
The number of UK banks offering the Apple Pay NFC contactless payment technology to their customers has risen to 22, with the Co-operative Bank and Metro Bank finally announcing their support.
Since the UK launch of Apple Pay in July 2015, the majority of UK banks have adopted it, including Barclays who held out for months on account of having its own bPay contactless payment technology. Now the Co-operative and Metro banks have also finally joined the programme.
Metro Bank is highlighting the fact that it is the only UK Apple Pay bank to allow new customers to use the service. Rival banks require an account to be open for a set period of time – e.g. six months – before Apple Pay can used with the account. For its part, the Co-operative Bank has confirmed that those of its customers already enjoying its ‘Everyday Rewards’ current account scheme will continue to benefit when using Apple Pay as the method of payment.
The Co-operative Bank’s long wait to adopt Apple Pay has been a source of frustration to its customers, so this news will be warmly received. The delay has seemed unusually long, especially given that in July 2015 the Co-op Food arm of the organisation became the largest UK retailer to launch Apple Pay at over 11,800 till points in its network of convenience stores across the country. It gave rise to the odd situation whereby Co-operative Bank customers were not able to use Apple Pay in Co-op Food stores, when customers of rival banks could. Today’s announcement rectifies this anomaly.
Apple also launched Apple Pay today in Russia, further extending the global reach of its payment service. It will initially operate in Russia with partners Sberbank and Mastercard. Russia becomes the tenth country where Apple Pay is available, following the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Australia and others.
Apple has also announced that UK Apple Pay users will soon be able to add their “favourite store credit cards and rewards cards” to the digital Wallet app on iOS devices. This feature has already been rolled out in the USA, with companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts and JCPenney allowing customers to store loyalty cards.
Apple Pay and Watch are both also more deeply integrated into the latest version of the Mac operating system, macOS Sierra. Owners of a Mac desktop or laptop can use Apple Pay on their computer whenever the Apple Pay icon appears on the ‘Buy’ pages of certain retailers. Payments can be verified using either Touch ID on an iPhone or by using an Apple Watch.
The Watch adds further functionality to a Mac computer in macOS Sierra, with the Auto Unlock feature that allows the wearer to unlock their Mac from the Watch without needing to type in the typical user name and password combination.