Apple Pay in the UK, Square Compatibility and Loyalty Cards at WWDC 2015

At WWDC, Apple revealed an array of payment updates for its Apple Pay system, including Square compatibility and a July

Apple kicked off its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) yesterday with a slew of announcements for its array of software and hardware offerings. In the payments field, Apple has officially revealed that Apple Pay is available in the UK as well as announcing other feature upgrades and new partners.

The arrival to the UK followed reports over the weekend that it would be officially announced at WWDC. According to Apple, the contactless payment service will become available in the UK starting in July, with major banks such as Lloyds, Halifax, Natwest, RBS and HSBC supporting it. In addition, Apple revealed that come July, the service will be available in 250,000 physical UK locations, such as at McDonald’s, Nando’s, Lidl and the Post Office. Perhaps the most important revelation which can boost Apple Pay’s adoption in the UK is that it will become available as a payment type for London public transportation, including the Underground and in buses.

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Among supporting banks, the one major omission was Barclays. Initial speculation focused on the fact that Barclays already offers mobile payment services in the UK such as Pingit. Therefore, Barclays may be hesistant to support a competing product which could reduce adoption of their mobile payment systems. However on Twitter, representatives of the bank confirmed that they were in fact in discussions with Apple, which could lead them to support Apple Pay in the near future.

Loyalty Cards

Launched last month at Google’s I/O Developer Conference was Android Pay. Competing with Apple Pay, the Android-based mobile payment system included an important feature that was missing on the Apple counterpart; loyalty card adoption. This feature allowed participating merchants to integrate their cards within Android Pay, providing users the ability to gain loyalty points on their purchases without having to use a separate app or card at an online or physical store. As merchants are required to install NFC reading payment devices to enable mobile services like Android Pay and Apple Pay, we noted in the past that the inclusion of loyalty cards makes sense to incentivize stores to purchase NFC hardware.

Not taking long to match Android Pay, Apple Pay announced at WWDC that they were also integrating loyalty cards into their payment system. With the news, just like users can link their credit and debt cards into Apple Pay, they will now have the option to add cards from retailers. Retail cards include those from Kohls, JC Penny and Dunkin’ Donuts.

1,000,000 Locations Plus Square Integration

Providing an update on available locations, Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay, announced at WWDC that Apple Pay would soon be available at 1,000,000 locations in the US. This compares to about 225,000 locations when it was launched last year.

In addition to a growing group of store locations accepting Apple Pay, it was revealed that the service would soon be compatible with Square. According to Apple, Square will soon be releasing a new Apple Pay compatible Square Reader. Once going live, any businesses accepting Square payments via their phones or tablets and using the new reader will be able to accept Apple Pay.

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