Apple Pay is live in the UK – and Mapa is a fan
Yesterday marked the launch of Apple Pay in the UK, the second market to adopt the cardless payment service. From a set-up and usability point of view, it was difficult to find a fault in the service. With the likes of Nationwide, First Direct and MBNA sending emails to customers both before and on the day of the launch, we were well informed of the availability of the service.
Setting up our Nationwide debit card was a quick and smooth process. We scanned the card, which pre-populated most of the details, and then chose our authentication method from the bank (in our instance, an SMS which was instantly received). This varies from how US banks initially tackled the service, in which some credit cards were verified instantly, while other cards required a phone call, an app download or an email to verify a card before it could be added.
In terms of security, Apple claims this service is more secure than current payment methods, as when the physical card is shared with a merchant the card number, details and identity are visible. Apple Pay circumvents this with the use of unique Device Account Numbers. These are assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in Apple devices which offer Apple Pay. Every device has a separate Secure Element and when purchases are made with Apple Pay the Device Account Number, along with a transaction specific dynamic security code, is used to process the payment. Combined with the use of Touch ID to verify the payment, we are confident the transaction is and will continue to be secure.
The security concerns that arose in the US do not relate to Apple Pay itself, but rather the stolen credit card data from Home Depot and Target breaches.
At lunchtime, we popped to our local Boots and made a purchase, which was surprisingly faster than a contactless payment and significantly faster than using chip and PIN. The speed and fact that we only needed to bring a phone out with us to make a quick purchase are clear benefits we welcome.
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