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Apple Pay launches… without Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and co

Apple Pay

Apple's cashless payments system goes live in the UK, but without many of the major banks

Apple Pay has gone live in the UK – but without support from three of the UK’s ‘big four’ banks. The cashless payment system for iPhone and the Apple Watch launched in the US at the end of last year, with British retailers finally beginning to accept payments today. 

Of the UK’s ‘big four’ banking groups, only The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is there on launch day, with subsidiaries NatWest, Ulster Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland itself all on the list. Customers of Amercian Express, MBNA, Nationwide and Santander can also get in on the action from day one.

Everything you need to know about Apple Pay in the UK

However, the rest of Britain’s banks remain on the sidelines. Big four members Lloyds (and its subsidiaries Halifax and TSB) and HSBC are described as ‘coming soon’ on Apple’s website, as are Bank of Scotland, First Direct and M&S Bank. We spoke to HSBC’s customer support line, which told us that Apple Pay will launch on 28 July 2015. The UK’s biggest bank, Barclays, seemingly isn’t even on the coming list, although a Twitter post from the bank this morning stated: “We are really excited about the launch of Apple Pay and will bring Barclays debit cards and Barclaycard credit cards to Apple Pay in future”. Barclays this month revamped its own bPay cashless payments, suggesting its concentrating on its own system for the time being. 

Apple Pay can be used anywhere that contactless payments are supported. Major retailers supporting the system include McDonald’s, Costa, Boots, Waitrose and Wagamama. However, don’t get any ideas about wandering out to a restaurant without your wallet, unless you’re only planning to order starters. Apple Pay will initially be restricted to the same £20 limit as other contactless payment cards. An upgrade planned for the autumn will see the limit rise, but only to £30. 

Only Apple’s latest generation of devices supports Apple Pay – the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. 

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