Apple Pay officially launches in the UK today, July 14th, nine months after it originally rolled out in the United States. The contactless payment service has support from more than 250,000 stores and companies in the country, including supermarkets Waitrose and Lidl, restaurant chains Wagamama and Nando's, and Transport for London's rail and bus networks. Most purchases through Apple Pay in the UK currently have a £20 (around $31) cap, but that figure will reportedly rise to £30 (around $45.50) later this year.
Plans for Apple Pay's UK launch were first announced at WWDC in May, but Apple said only that the service would reach the country in July. Earlier this month, 9to5Mac narrowed that date down to July 14th, citing sources at several retailers who were apparently being trained to accept the new service. In addition to the quarter of a million locations that support Apple's NFC contactless payments, the company has also partnered with eight UK banks and building societies, including Santander, Natwest, and Nationwide. Barclays has also announced it will support the service after lengthy negotiations, making it the last of the UK's "big four" to agree terms with Apple.
We are really excited about the launch of Apple Pay and will bring Barclays debit cards and Barclaycard credit cards to Apple Pay in future.— Barclays UK (@BarclaysUK) July 14, 2015
Many have started to find that their cards are activated in Apple's Passbook app, but HSBC and First Direct customers will have to wait a while longer. Both banks — launch partners for the scheme in the UK — have delayed Apple Pay's rollout until later in July. This British expansion of Apple Pay is Apple's first outside of the US — up next is likely to be Canada.