As promised by Apple on 13 June at WWDC in San Francisco, the global roll-out of Apple Pay will continue this summer with France, Switzerland and Spain. Already available in the US, Canada, Australia, China and the UK, where it was launched back in July 2015, the payment system allows customers to pay with an iPhone 6 or later model, just by just by hold the phone near the contactless reader.
Since iOS8 and the arrival of NFC (Near Field Communication) and biometry on recent Apple smartphones, users have been able to pay with their phone – at least, only in the States initially. But the service has since been rolled out in other countries, and is being further extended to France, Switzerland and Spain this summer.
Just hold your iPhone near the contactless reader with your finger on Touch ID. The phone has to be switched on but the app will also work whilst on sleep mode. It also works on iPad Air 2 and later models, Apple Watch and the next Mac OS and allows customer to pay online more quickly and easily.
Apple Pay works with the Wallet app (formerly Passbook), which is also installed on iPhones and can be used to manage train tickets, boarding passes, events tickets and loyalty cards. You just scan the card or enter the number and Wallet generates and memorises a single-use transaction ID called a token and stores it on the NFC chip, which acts like a sort of digital safe. The bank card number is never stored on the phone itself or given to retailers. Payment is authorised by pressing the Touch ID which can store up to five different fingerprints. You can also pay without enrolling a fingerprint for the card, using the PIN code, but that rather defeats the object of the system: you may as well use traditional payment via credit card. In addition to being more secure than a bank card, Wallet offers a range of handy services for users, such as viewing previous transactions. The app can show the last 10 transactions and, depending on the bank, display the transactions made directly with the bank card.
Not all banks are Apple Pay compatible yet: in France, where the payment system is about to go live, only Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne currently support it, but others will gradually follow suit For the list of participating banks in other countries, click here.
What about non-Apple users?
In 2014, Samsung announced its own system, Samsung Pay, whilst Google brought out Android Pay. After South Korea, the USA, Singapore and Australia, Samsung Pay has just been introduced in Spain for Galaxy S7 and S6 users. Next on the schedule are Brazil, Canada and the UK, where Android Pay and Apple Pay are already live.