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Apple Pay comes to the UK with Marks & Spencer, Boots, Starbucks and more

4 min read

09 June 2015

After months of speculation, Apple has confirmed that Apple Pay will be coming to the UK in July – with some of the biggest retailers across Britain announcing plans to start accepting the form of contactless payments in the coming months.

Marks & Spencer is joining up as a launch partner and will accept Apple Pay at more than 620 of its UK stores – “including railway and airport franchises”, creating an extensive network.

Boots has also said it’s on board with the process, “which is transforming mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way to pay”.

Simon Roberts, president of the pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, said: “We are hugely excited about launching Apple Pay. Offering our customers and patients new, innovative store experiences is at the heart of our strategy and we know our customers increasingly want faster payment options.”

“Apple Pay will make it even quicker, easier and more secure to pay in our stores,” he added. Apple Pay will be available from over 16,000 till points across Boots’s 2,511 stores in the UK.

The matter of security has been focused on by many retailers as a particular selling point of the service. When a customer adds a credit or debit card to Apple Pay, the actual card numbers aren’t stored on the device, nor on the servers. A unique device account number is assigned, encrypted and stored in the secure element on the individual’s device and each transaction is authorised with a unique security code.

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Robin Phillips, omnichannel and development director at Boots, added that it “was the first retailer in the UK to trial contactless payment technology”, and that it is confident the adoption of Apple Pay will be a “huge success”.

Other retailers also getting involved include BP, Dune, JD Sports, New Look, Liberty, Waitrose and Lidl. Costa, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Wagamama, Starbucks and Wagamama.

Payment and risk services provider Worldpay has been working with various retailers, including Arcadia and SPAR, to make over 250,000 card machines capable of accepting near field communication payments.

The system works with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch, and will support MasterCard, Visa Europe and American Express cards.

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It will also be integrated into various travel and retail apps, including Addison Lee, Airbnb, Argos and Stubhub. 

Dave Hobday, Worldpay’s managing director, believes the number of companies accepting the contactless system reflected the fast-moving pace of digital developments and the need to keep up with them. “Retailers who fail to adopt this new technology will quickly lose out to their savvier rivals,” he said.

Elsewhere, Apple is also taking the service to London commuters in an effort to make travelling a smoother, quicker process. Passengers will be able to pay for travel by touching iPhones at the barriers.

Transport for London’s director of customer experience, Shashi Verma, said: “With around one in ten of all contactless transactions in the UK now taking place on our transport services in London, we are delighted to welcome Apple Pay as another new and convenient contactless way for our customers to pay for their travel.”

The Apple Pay update was one of many updates from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, with a new music system attempting to take on popular streaming service Spotify.

Image: Shutterstock