Apple Pay expected to go live in the U.K. on July 14th, £20+ transactions starting this fall

Screenshot 2015-07-04 12.39.46

Apple appears to be planning to enable its Apple Pay iPhone mobile payments service in the United Kingdom on July 14th, according to sources at multiple retailers. Apple has informed some Apple Retail employees in the U.K. that Apple Pay support will go live on that Tuesday, while an internal memos for supermarket Waitrose plus an additional retail partner indicate the same date…

Apple will also begin training its U.K staff on supporting Apple Pay on July 12th. Apple has begun enabling its mobile point of sale systems in England-based stores to take NFC payments and has been preparing materials to promote the Apple Pay launch in stores. It is plausible that different stores will have different launch dates, but the presence of the same, at least tentative, date makes July 14th a very possible widespread start date.

Screenshot 2015-07-04 10.15.49

Announced for July at the June Worldwide Developers Conference, the U.K.’s Apple Pay launch will mark Apple’s first expansion of the service outside of the United States. Like in the U.S., a PIN won’t be required for usage, but the launch will include a £20 cap per transaction, as also noted on the above memo sent to us and posted across the web. However, a source tells us that U.K. systems will be updated in the fall to process higher values. Apple is also currently working on bringing the service to Canada later this year in addition to China and South Korea in the future.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. Scott Flanigan (@zcott) - 8 years ago

    The supermarket is probably Waitrose, not Waitress…

  2. nekomichikun - 8 years ago

    Apple Pay is currently disabled in the Passbook app on iOS 8 if set to the UK region. When the 14th comes, will the feature be automatically enabled, or will Apple release a new iOS update that UK users will have to install in order to use Apple Pay?

    • GadgetBen - 8 years ago

      This was always my point. When the iOS was released in the U.S. that included Apple Pay, it was over 1GB more in size than the same update for UK users. Therefore there must be another update for UK users to take into account our currency and UK bank images / data for the passport app

      • nekomichikun - 8 years ago

        Wait, iOS IPSW files are different for regions too? I thought it was just different between device models.

      • joshblinney - 8 years ago

        They won’t be a new update. It will just be turned on. Because Apple will just tell the servers that Apple Pay is enabled. So every iPhone will just get it more than likely. I could be wrong. But mostly not

      • GadgetBen - 8 years ago

        I bet you’re wrong!

      • nekomichikun - 8 years ago

        Hamza Sood tweeted that Passkit config data from one of Apple’s servers and he believes that Apple Pay in the UK will be activated by this method rather than a full iOS update.

      • No. You can already flick the AP ui & settings on by switching your current region over to US. There are already Brits with supported American banks using AP in instances such as TFL. They just need to add the UK’s region to the string, flush everyone’s cache (somehow) and wham.

      • GadgetBen - 8 years ago

        A locality change won’t enable Apple Pay on the Apple Watch, the button does not activate your wallet / passbook. There will need to be an update to take into account image files for UK cards

      • Chris - 8 years ago

        You can change the region of your watch separately in the watch app. Change this to US and the double tap opens passbook on that as it should.

        I suspect an update will be required to add the card images for UK banks. The functionality is there by changing region, but apple wouldn’t have included images for a Natwest or Nationwide card in the original iOS 8 package.

    • Scott Tomlinson - 8 years ago

      If you set your region to US you get the passbook option, try to add your card, and you get terms and conditions for your bank (well i do with NatWests) but you then get an error saying the card cannot be added.

      Looks like its just something that needs to be enabled on Apple’s side. No update needed

    • Adam Nemeth (@Addika97) - 8 years ago

      I have been told it’s just going to be available without an update when I was talking to Apple a few days ago about it.

  3. Wabi sabi - 8 years ago

    Reblogged this on Wabisabisc.

  4. sdm1 (@sdmaclean) - 8 years ago

    England-based stores? So stores in Scotland & Wales are not included?

  5. philsquared - 8 years ago

    The comments here about the £20 limit are a little misleading. That limit is the standard limit for contactless payments here in the UK at the moment. At launch Apple Pay will already work with all contactless payment readers. *In addition* it seems likely that the specific launch partners (M&S etc) will have the required readers (whether that’s a hardware or a software thing) to recognise Apple Pay explicitly and remove the limit. Even the linked 9to5mac article said, “almost all merchants will only allow Apple Pay purchases up to £20”. Not all. Almost all

    Where “systems will be updated in the fall” comes into it is almost certainly just an allusion to the raising of the £20 contactless limit to £30 in September. That’s for all contactless payment means.

    My reading of all this is that the £20 (or £30) limit will be removed as and when vendors update their readers to account for Apple Pay – and I don’t think that’s tied to “the fall” (or “autumn” as we say here),

  6. Rudder Zhang - 8 years ago

    when it will be available in Australia?

  7. John Biondini - 8 years ago

    Can you please do an article about the petition and share it #ApplePay #GoogleWallet #BarclaysGate

    • Sorry but that’s just not going to happen! They are rivals in the financial business world and Barclays are not going to sit back and give in so easily – no matter how many signatures you get!

  8. TLFdex (@TLFDex) - 8 years ago

    hmmm…Live with Apple Pay in July 14, iPod Touch in new colours also shows Tue 14….coincidence?

  9. How long before Australia gets this?

  10. PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

    Apple Pay isn’t live here in The Netherlands, but US friends coming over to visit can use their Watch with Apple Pay at Starbucks. That’s because they have a US Credit Card. This leads me to believe that there won’t be some mandatory iOS upgrade for a simple activation like Apple Pay.

    • srgmac - 8 years ago

      I have an Apple Watch and I use it in the USA, and I use it to pay for food at Starbucks — but this has nothing to do with NFC or ApplePay (at least not in any Starbucks in the USA, not sure about NL) — how paying for Starbucks works here in the USA on the Apple Watch is exactly the same as how it works using the Starbucks iPhone App.

      Normally, the barista has a barcode scanner, and they need to scan a picture of your iPhone whist running the logged-in and loaded Starbucks App to bring up your “unique ID” on their end — so you load the app on your phone, press pay, and it brings up the barcode — and show your phone to them whist they scan it.

      It’s the same exact thing with the Apple Watch; it does not use ApplePay; but it does use Passbook on the Apple Watch…it works the same way — they just put the barcode in a smaller form on the Apple Watch display; you open Passbook on your watch, go to your Starbucks card, and it will display your barcode / unique ID on the watch display; and then barista at Starbucks uses the same barcode scanner and scans your Apple Watch instead of your iPhone.

      It’s more convenient than having to take my phone out of my pocket most of the time, but it’s still far from ideally implemented. Re-loading is also not possible using the Apple Watch app itself, unfortunately. That requires you running the Starbucks App on your iPhone and doing it that way, or I guess you could ask the barista to reload your “ID” for you at the counter.

  11. Darius Oliver - 8 years ago

    Contactless in the UK doesn’t require a PIN for transactions below £20. I think it would be good if Apple Pay could have the same approach for low transactions (if user opts in, selects default card etc) and TouchID only required for larger amounts or periodically as a security measure. I can see Apple Pay slowing things down on TfL buses and at tube gates. People already get shirty when someone’s card fails first time at the gates!

    • The whole point of Apple Pay is that it is secured by TouchID. I can’t see any of the banks agreeing to just let it be used willy-nilly! I do understand what you’re saying about TfL journeys though – that’s gonna cause a lot of trouble for sure!

  12. JP Hussey (@HusseyJP) - 8 years ago

    Would argue that the top letter is not legitimate, the date is in the US format(MM/DD/YY) , Waitrose would use UK (DD/MM/YY).

    • Chris - 8 years ago

      Why? You think this wasn’t planned as far back as March? It could be that the letter has only just come to light and/or is a planned leak nearer the time by Waitrose to get people talking?

  13. thestuzy - 8 years ago

    “England-based stores”, so not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?

  14. Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

    Baby steps. The £20 limit renders this next to useless, especially as contactless payment terminals are so rare. I gather that eliminating a cap will require new payment hardware, and which pushes this out into the distant future. 10 years perhaps, maybe more.

    It’s a nice idea, but one better suited to more technologically up to date nations, such as Japan and South Korea.

    • Apaches911 - 8 years ago

      I wonder why Apple would bother launching apple pay in the UK if you are correct?

      • The £20 limit is the same as the UK’s current contactless limit, this will be increased to £30 in the autumn. Most places accept contactless, so it should be pretty smooth.

      • dailycardoodle - 8 years ago

        He’s not correct. We’ve had contactless in the UK for years and it’s pretty prevalent – even my little local pub has it.

      • Walter Tizzano - 8 years ago

        Contactless is everywhere in the UK (anche quite widespread in all the other western European countries). The 20£ limit is not related with Apple pay, but with contactless payments in general. It will be raised in the Autumn, but anyway it already allows to buy a very high number of things (i.e., beer in pubs, fast food meals, newspapers and stationary, pizzas, bus tickets… )

      • Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

        Contactless certainly isn’t common in my experience. I can’t even use it in Tesco, Asda, or Sainsburys. So far I’ve seen it in the post office, Nandos, TFL, and that’s about it. Every other restaurant is card or cash only.

        I live in a good sized town in the Midlands, so maybe I’d see it more if I lived I a city.

      • I live in a small town and I use contactless for almost everything. In fact, aside from the big supermarkets, I can’t think of many shops near me that don’t support it. Even the small independent shops have terminals. Also in my experience at work around 80% of the card payments we take are contactless and it makes things so much easier for us.

      • Chris - 8 years ago

        Contactless for the big retailers is a harder sell. Why spend loads of money implementing contactless if your average spend at the checkout is way over the current £20 limit imposed by the payment card industry. My local Asda has contactless at the self service tills where the average spend is most likely going to be much closer to £20.

        The larger supermarkets will roll it out to their self service tills first because that is where it is useful. With the newer device authentication technology, which is only currently utilised by Apple Pay, starting to add value (which will increase when Android Pay and Samsung Pay come along), the case for rolling it out to the manned tills where the transaction value is going to be higher becomes much stronger. Not only that, but large retailers will need a plan to roll it out to many many more tills than the smaller ones. This increases capital cost significantly. Larger retailers will come, but more slowly.

      • Chris - 8 years ago

        Seeing contactless in Asda made me chuckle knowing that they will be supporting Apple Pay in the UK even through Walmart in the US are holding out from supporting Apple Pay due to backing their own payment system.

    • Dale Philpott - 8 years ago

      The limit will raise to £30 later in the year, this doesn’t render it next to useless, there are millions of transactions every day in the UK under this amount.

      Also , contactless payment terminals are not so rare:

      AMT Coffee
      Caffe Nero
      Coffee Republic
      Co-op Pharmacy
      Co-op Food Group
      Costa Coffee
      David Lloyd
      Gourmet Burger Kitchen
      J D Weatherspoon
      Little Chef
      London Buses
      M6 Toll
      Marks and Spencer
      National Trust
      One Stop
      Paul’s Bakers
      Post Office
      West Cornwall Pasty
      WH Smith

      This is just the start.

      Mastercard have a contactless merchant finder on their website, when i put in Salisbury as an example, it showed over 100 local shops accepting contactless payments.

      Figures show that one 2013 Boots, Marks and Spencer and Starbucks took 230,000 contactless payments a week.

      I assume this has only grown

    • Scott Tomlinson - 8 years ago

      The £20 limit (£30 in autumn) on contactless is down to the retailer. If they chose to they can remove this limit, however they would not be insured for fraudulent transactions for normal card users as there is no way to prove ownership unless they take ID (passport or drivers license number) and even these can be easily faked.

      Most terminals support this and just need a software update to allow it. As Apple Pay requires a fingerprint or a paired watch to work, there is no risk as you are confirming your identity by pairing the card with the device.

      I hear Sainsburys are close to launching contactless, and if you go to a self serve checkout at Tesco there is the option to pay by contactless on the screens, however most do not have the terminals yet.

      I very rarely make transactions over £30 on my card, in a store anymore. If I’m going to be spending more than that its usually online as ill get it cheaper and its more convenient for me to get it delivered.

      • Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

        You rarely spend more than £30 offline? Do you ever go to restaurants?

        I read that Asda (which is owned by Wall-Mart) will never support Apple Pay, and Tesco and Sainsburys have said nothing either. As they pretty much are UK supermarkets, with a few stragglers on the side, what they do matters. Apple clearly haven’t won them over.

      • Scott Tomlinson - 8 years ago

        I do, thats why I said rarely! However normally when I go to restaurants its with friends so we usually split the bill over a few cards, so again rarely over £30. Or I’m eating alone as I travel the country on business a lot, again hardly go over £30 for expenses reasons ;)

        Saisburys will have contactless terminals very soon, nothing has been said publicly , but knowing people who work for them and they have had internal word its coming. As I said previously, Tesco have the option to pay contactless on their self checkout, so they must have them in some stores. Also to say Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda are UK supermarkets is extremely naive, what about Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and M&S? Id say that Aldi and Lidl where just as, if not more, popular that Tesco and Asda.

        Contactless is turning up everywhere, my Gym even has a vending machine that supports it. I wouldnt dismiss it so fast as you seem to be.

      • Yulin Li - 8 years ago

        i can back you up on this one, Tesco does have contactless payment option across all the Tesco shop in the entire Enfield, London area.

    • M_tt Sims (@Mercifull) - 8 years ago

      You’re wrong on multiple levels. Firstly contactless terminals are not rare in the UK. In december 2014 there were 215,380 bank-owned terminals available where contactless cardholders can make a transaction. This is an increase of 22.7% over the year and more are rolling out all the time.

      £20 is not useless, on average, each contactless transaction is for £8.26. This is split £8.48 on a debit card and £6.68 on a credit / charge card. The ATV (Average transaction values) of all carts including non-contactless is £32.62 which is less than the same time a year ago. Later this year contactless maximum limit goes up to £30.

      Also if a terminal has been fully upgraded to use Apple Pay specifically (as opposed to using it as a dumb contactless device) then there is no limit as the banks consider it a more secure method of payment.

      These are facts. I hope I’ve been able to educate you a little.


      • Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

        Being smug and sanctimonious is never helpful.

        I can only comment on my own experiences with contactless, which as I have stated, is that these payment points are rare. If you see them everywhere you look, bully for you. Have fun trying to buy a meal for under £20 though. I’m not going to eat in crappy restaurants just so I can pay with my telephone.

  15. GoldMark City - 8 years ago


  16. griffinjar - 8 years ago

    I heard it will launch in Greece tomorrow as a currency.

  17. This past weekend (July 3-5) I used Apple Pay at the Silverstone British Formula One Grand Prix… the staff at the hospitality tent were all quite amazed every time I used it…it was kind of fun seeing their reactions. They had the usual European wireless credit card machines, which showed a “contactless payment” icon, so I asked if I could try Apple Pay and they said “sure”. It worked fine, but definitely had the GPB 20 limit.

  18. Yulin Li - 8 years ago

    the font in that letter isn’t the same one as Apple use for everything else, therefore somehow i couldn’t believe the message in that letter is real

    • griffinjar - 8 years ago

      I’ve just had a McDonald’s in Mavlern where the payment poster includes Apple Pay. How do I add the photo to this thread? Presumably I can’t. Stupidly I didn’t ask the guy in the counter.

    • griffinjar - 8 years ago

      That proves it then. The font.