The long-anticipated mainstreaming of mobile payments in the UK may have just moved one step closer to reality. Apple Pay is now available to more customers and is closing the gap with contactless cards when it comes to convenience, according to an Apple executive.
In a May 21 article in The Telegraph, Jennifer Bailey, head of Apple's payments business, said more than half of contactless payment terminals in the UK were now able to take so-called limitless Apple Pay transactions.
Previously, the majority of card readers could only process payments of up to £30 ($40.50), a move imposed by the UK Cards Association, a trade association for the UK’s card payments industry. The limit had been imposed as a way to prevent the fraudulent use of contactless cards, which do not require a signature or PIN number to complete transactions.
Greater convenience could light a fire under fairly tepid uptake of mobile payment use in the UK. Recent studies have shown lower use of mobile payments—Apple Pay or otherwise—in the UK than might be expected in a country where, according to eMarketer estimates, 64.3% of the total population and 79.3% of mobile phone users will be smartphone users by the end of the year.
A survey of UK internet users conducted in Q4 2016 by GlobalWebIndex found just 6% of respondents had used Apple Pay to make a purchase via their smartphone. Even fewer respondents had used Android Pay, the payments service tied to Google’s mobile operating system of the same name.