Apple Pay is a mobile payment service that uses NFC and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to allow users to pay for items online and in-stores in a quick and secure manner. It also lets you use your finger to pay for in-app purchases on your iPhone or Apple Watch, and the Mac. Here's everything you need to know about Apple Pay in the UK & Ireland. See also: What is NFC & how does it work?

When is the Apple Pay release date in Ireland?

You can use Apple Pay in Ireland from 7 March 2017. The two supported banks are KBC and Ulster Bank, but others are likely to offer support soon. The launch comes three months after Android Pay in Ireland. You can use Apple Pay in thousands of shops around the country, plus in apps and on certain websites. 

Apple Pay launched in the UK on 14 July 2015, with support from major High Street banks and retailers such as Costa, Boots, Waitrose and the London Underground. The Co-operative Bank is the most recent bank to have joined the list of supported UK banks (see which banks are supported below).

Currently the limit on contactless payments in the UK is £30, and €30 in Ireland.

Apple Pay first launched in the US on 20 October 2014 as part of the iOS 8.1 update. This meant UK users had to wait almost eight months longer.

When is Apple Pay coming out?

Which banks and shops support Apple Pay in the UK?

Banks that support Apple Pay include:

  • American Express
  • Barclays
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Clydesdale Bank
  • Co-operative bank
  • First Direct
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds
  • MBNA
  • M&S
  • NatWest
  • Matro Bank
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander
  • TSB
  • Ulster Bank
  • Yorkshire Bank

In terms of retailers, the list includes BP, Boots, McDonalds, Lidl, M&S, Boots, Waitrose, Costa Coffee and more. You can pay with a compatible iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch including on the London Underground, overground and on buses, and in apps including Just Eat, Deliveroo, Etsy, Topshop, Trainline, Zara.

How to use Apple Pay

How to use Apple Pay

Apple Pay works via the Wallet app (this was renamed from Passbook in iOS 9). Open Wallet and you should see a message pop up asking if you want to add a credit or debit card. Then, follow the on-screen instructions and let the camera automatically recognise your card details. You have to enter the security code manually.

Next you will need to accept the Ts and Cs, and verify the card by either gettting a code via text, or by calling your bank. Clearly, text is the easier option here. Discover how to use PayPal.

Then your card will show as "ready for Apple Pay" in the app. No card details are shown - just a basic representation of the card with the last four digits - they remain private, as does your balance.

Using Apple Pay, those with an iPhone 6 or later (or an Apple Watch) can pay for things by touching the NFC-chip built into their device to a compatible reader in stores. It should bring up the Wallet screen automatically, and allow you to choose which card to pay with if you have multiple card set up. If not, double-press the home button on your phone if it's turned off, or double-press the side button on an Apple Watch.

Apple Pay also works in apps, using the "one-touch checkout" feature, which pretty much just requires you to have your card details stored (securely) in Passbook, and you will need to place your finger over the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in order to identify yourself.

Apps which support Apple Pay include the Apple Store app, Aldi, ETSY, Zara, JD Sports, Groupon, Uber, Starbucks, Disney and many more.

For more, see our step-by-step guide to using Apple Pay.