back to article Blighty's BONKERS BANKING BONKING BONANZA: Apple Pay arrives

Fanbois of Britain, flick your heads so your post-ironic full bottomed wigs no longer block your ears and listen! Apple Pay is launching in the UK! The bank-worrying NFC payment solution will allow fanboiyim to tap their iThings on terminals in high street shops in the UK to pay for items costing up to £20, in a manner …

  1. Neil Alexander

    HSBC are systematically incompetent.

    So no Apple Pay for us yet, then.

    1. NightFox

      Re: HSBC are systematically incompetent.

      Loving the way HSBC (incl First Direct) are now denying they ever said they'd be supporting Apple Pay from today, despite the overwhelming mass of evidence to the contrary - and even the fact that it was their memo which first leaked today as being the launch date!

      I mean, what's the world coming to when we can't even trust the banks to be honest with us?

  2. Undergrid

    I still don't get why Apple Pay is such a big thing. I've been using Proximity payment for probably over a year, both with my (non-apple) smartphone and with bank cards, so it's not like Apple is doing anything new. And with the extremely short list of banks that are actually supporting this technology right now, there are probably going to be more iPhone users not able to use it in the UK than able to.

    This isn't anything new, this is simply Apple once again taking an idea that already exists and implementing it in a way that is incompatible with pre-existing standards.

    1. NightFox

      Not quite - there's two aspects to Apple Pay (which is why many people get confused over whether retailers support it or not).

      First, there's the simple replacement for non-authenticated payments of <£20 which is pretty much the same as contactless cards or what other RFID phones can already do, with the difference that Apple Pay doesn't provide the card reader with your card number, instead it provides a single-use number. Not sure if other phone's systems do that. There's no special terminal or support needed for this - if a retailer can take contactless payments, then your can use Apple Pay, the reader just sees it as a contactless card.

      The other aspect of Apple Pay is that for larger transactions (over the £20 limit), users can authenticate on their phones (with fingerprint or passcode) rather than using a PIN, and again the retailer and the payment processor will never actually see your credit card number, just the one-time number transmitted by your iPhone. This is going to need specific support, hence the list of retailers who "support Apple Pay".

      I'm sure someone can give a more technical explanation than that, but the bottom line is you never provide your actual card details. So effectively Apple Pay is an anonymising service for card payments with the associated security/privacy benefits that brings about.

      1. NightFox
        Unhappy

        Seriously, what did I post in that to warrant a thumbs-down? If I got something wrong then ok, but it would be useful to actually reply and correct me.

        1. wyatt
          WTF?

          I'd like to know as well! From what I've read your post is accurate. My wife is in the process of setting up her own shop and will have a PDQ machine, this will undoubtedly accept payments via a NFC device (TBC!).

          In regards to reduced transaction rates, I doubt this will be the case unless you can confirm otherwise? You're still handling a payment from a card issuer, be it the way that the card was presented to you was different.

        2. Handy Plough

          It was ever-so-slightly pro-Apple. That's a no-no.

      2. Tom Wood

        "associated security/privacy benefits that brings about"

        But Apple gets to know everything about your shopping habits...

        Contactless cards work well and seem to be accepted in most places these days... even if I had an iPhone I can't see what the advantage to the customer is over using a contactless card. (Yes the retailers may like the lower charges, but do you really think they will pass them on?). If you really find it too much trouble to carry a card around (in reality most people will have a physical wallet with them anyway) then just out your card in your phone case, glue your card to your phone, or get one of those low-tech Barclaycard stickers.

        1. Mike Bell

          "But Apple gets to know everything about your shopping habits..."

          Source, please. This is in direct contradiction to what Apple say ("Apple Pay doesn't collect any transaction information that can be tied back to you."). They do not track your payment history.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes the retailers may like the lower charges, but do you really think they will pass them on?

          The retailers aren't going to see any lower charges; the (currently) 0.15% Apple Tax comes out of the card processors' fees. If anything it's going to make the card processors negotiate harder over their rates, and nudge up the overall amount retailers pay.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            There is (at least in the US, not sure about the EU) already more than 0.15% in fraud, so use of Apple Pay reduces that - due to the one-time use codes and fact that fingerprint authentication is more secure than signature in case your phone/wallet was stolen.

            In a few years when everyone has EMV cards, the fraud will drop on its own since they will use the same one time codes. Apple may have trouble keeping that 0.15% as the banks may no longer think it is worth it. I guess it will depend on the popularity of Apple Pay, and whether Apple users would choose to use a card from a different bank if some were dropped from Apple Pay.

      3. Select * From Handle

        One time number?

        So instead of multiple parts of numbers on a card that is needed for a wireless transaction (im assuming this is the case) all hackers will need to do is reprogram a RFID chip with any random number to use someone elses account. This sounds to simple to be true... I went to a cashless festival (Download) the other month and everyone was given a chip which i assumed had a simple unique ID for your account. They were reprogramming these chips left, right and center because of bugs. I hardly think apple will just link it to a unique number.

        P.S Apple is doing nothing new, I like certain wireless tech but all my bank details in once place. No thanks.

        1. Test Man

          Re: One time number?

          "...any random number to use someone elses account."

          Wrong. Even if somehow you managed to get a VALID random number, it won't work if you try it at 9:30am from Liverpool when the number is only going to work for a specific account at a specific time in a specific place.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One time number?

          >>So instead of multiple parts of numbers on a card that is needed for a wireless transaction (im assuming this is the case) all hackers will need to do is reprogram a RFID chip with any random number to use someone elses account.

          Exactly.

          And I can log in to your computer by typing any random sequence of characters I want, because that's your password.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ApplePay doesn't provide the card reader with a single use number. It provides it with what Apple call a DPAN (Device PAN). This is setup when you add your card to the device and the card scheme back ends can map this to the physical card. There are other transaction specific security elements, but the card reader sees the same PAN each time. If it didn't systems like contactless travel on London Underground wouldn't work. TfL wouldn't be able to tie your entry to and exit from the system together.

      5. sugerbear

        I think your quote about transactions under £20 is wrong, I still had to authenticate a £9.50 transaction in Costa using my fingerprint so it isn't the same as a card (I actually like having to authenticate all transactions using a biometric). I have two cards registered so not sure if that makes a difference.

        I didn't downvote you BTW :)

  3. Tromos

    With a £20 limit...

    ...is there anything in the Apple stores you can buy with this?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: With a £20 limit...

      Perhaps they'll make a priority Genius Bar queue for a for the bargain price of £20 so you're not waiting for hours while the staff are busy high-fiving each other.

    2. Mike Bell

      Re: With a £20 limit...

      Funny, if it wasn't utter bollocks.

    3. dotdavid
      WTF?

      Re: With a £20 limit...

      "With a £20 limit... is there anything in the Apple stores you can buy with this?"

      I thought that was a joke but then I had a look in the accessories section of the Apple online store. £15 is about the cheapest price I found so you're not far off really. Even a plastic phone case is £25!

    4. Velv Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: With a £20 limit...

      £15 iTunes Credit

      Which I guess you could just buy online, but that wouldn't give you the excuse to visit the Apple Store

    5. sugerbear

      Re: With a £20 limit...

      Can't you use the Apple Store app and collect instore without having to resort to using a point of sale terminal. A friend purchased that way long before apple pay arrived so I assumed it worked the same way,

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Gone are the days of searching for your wallet. The wasted moments finding the right card"

    The wasted moments are as nothing to the time spent looking at social media on your iphone.(or any phone)

  5. IHateWearingATie
    Headmaster

    I've said it before and I'll say it again

    Bring back Mondex! Used it at university in the late 90s and I need a nostalgia hit

  6. DuncanL

    Its bonking time!

    I loves a bit o' bonking!

    Three, four, five, six, seven, can't remember the rest!

    Twelve!

  7. Jerome

    The article is wrong - there is no hard £20 limit for Pay payments

    As far as I understand, there is no trace of a £20 limit, there is for example a screenshot with a £75 Topshop bag ready to be paid by Pay on Apple's website.

    There seems however to be such a £20 limit in most software used by retailers to handle contactless payments (and Pay) in the UK.

    It'd be nice for thereg to check their facts before publishing.

    Correcting this would be a start :-)

    1. Rallicat

      Re: The article is wrong - there is NO £20 limit for Pay payments

      I think the problem is that it's variable.

      We don't yet fully know what is going on. Many terminals don't activate for contactless payment if they are charging you above the £20 limit. I've ready elsewhere that back-end updates can allow for terminals to make a distinction between an authenticated tap (as Apple Pay delivers) and an unauthenticated tap (as would occur with a plastic card).

      Time will tell. I suspect that at first, you'll be able to bonk up to £20 (£30 in September) from pretty much anywhere that currently accepts contactless, and over time as updates roll out, more and more places will support authenticated payment taps, thus breaking us out of some of the current restrictions.

      Something I'm also curious about is the 'revert to PIN' restriction. Currently, after X transactions using contactless, you'll get bumped and asked to use chip & pin ... just to make sure it's still you. Will this be the case with Apple Pay? I'm guessing not since the back end us getting a different token every time and should be able to make a distinction here. Again .. we'll soon find out I guess!

    2. micheal

      Re: The article is wrong - there is no hard £20 limit for Pay payments

      Most shops in my area (trendy Islington) wont even accept a £50 note as payment

      1. batfink Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: The article is wrong - there is no hard £20 limit for Pay payments

        Have you tried letting the ink dry first?

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: The article is wrong - there is no hard £20 limit for Pay payments

          He was probably hoping the people on the tills would be so mesmerised by the classy erotica that they wouldn't notice the ink was still wet.

  8. Steverh
    WTF?

    Why?

    An expensive solution looking for a problem.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The £20 limit is imposed and enforced by the banks (actually the card companies), not Apple.

    Sure, they're not doing anything new, and sure it has had a bumpy start in the U.S... but with the UK passing the 50% mark of cashless transactions earlier this year, I'm certain it'll actually be more of a success here than it was in the U.S

    Droid people, rather than flaming a company for launching their version of a system that Google tried (and so far) failed to get wide support for, just wait a while. Once the trend picks up (which I'm sure it will) Google Wallet will end up with a larger market share than Apple Pay.

    1. graeme leggett

      "50% mark of cashless transactions earlier this year"

      But that includes all use of debit cards etc and not just contactless. And with everyone already happy with doing chip and pin, why would they swap to contactless.

      I don't know how significant contactless use is. I suspect it must all be going on in advanced civilisation such as exists in London. Out here in the sticks I have yet to notice anyone doing a contactless payment.

  10. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    Litmus test

    A phone without a replaceable battery is not for me, ever. But of course for you, poor bastards, with a iPhone, there is ifixit.com.

    1. Velv Silver badge

      Re: Litmus test

      There are plenty of various sized "Power Banks" on the market now. These are more flexible than changeable batteries as you can cover different devices and possibly get more than one recharge per use.

      I don't know anyone who carries a spare battery for their phone (even where they can be changed), but I have lots of friends carry varying sizes of power bank depending on their day/weekend plans.

  11. ColonelClaw

    Probably not a very popular opinion, but I welcome the system. The current wave of contactless cards always made me very nervous about the lack of security, at least the Apple version requires your fingerprint (or severed finger).

    1. system11

      On the other hand, it's really difficult to hack the OS on a thing without one.

      I'm going to write this off as "stupid marketing solution to a problem that doesn't exist". Who is going to start leaving their wallet at home complete with any other things that might be in it, just because they can wave their much larger phone at a payment terminal?

      Nobody.

    2. Neoc

      I don't know how things work in the USA or the UK, but paywave down here in OZ is very simple: If the transaction is sub-AU$100, simply bonk/wave your card and move on. If it's over that amount, the system will ask for your pin for confirmation.

      1. John Tserkezis

        "but paywave down here in OZ is very simple: If the transaction is sub-AU$100, simply bonk/wave your card and move on."

        Would also be worthy to add that pay-by-bonk-NFC is reasonably widespread here. The larger stores are guaranteed to be capable, and smaller stores where their bonk box is reasonably (last few years) new.

        Not only that, it's been available for at least several years (in usable numbers), so has gained some good momentum. I don't see Apple trying to get into the market, as they'll just be delivering what we already have, albeit with needing to take cards out of our wallets. But hey, who cares?

        Heck, I've even seen people tape their cards to the back of their phones. Pay-by-bonk-by-proxy?

        But even if that day comes, at $1300+ (vs an NFC card from your bank for nothing), nope, good value it aint.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alexander J Martin

    Is this a pseudonym for a Javascript story generator? Let me know when it's out of beta

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Stop

    Gone are the days of searching for your wallet

    If I'm searching for my wallet, I already have bigger problems than angsting over pay-by-bonk.

    Idiots.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Gone are the days of searching for your wallet

      You need your wallet when shopping for your Tesco Clubcard, Nectar Card, Shell drivers card etc...

      And if I drop in at the library on the way back from the shops, I'll need my library card too.

      1. Jan 0

        Re: Gone are the days of searching for your wallet

        What we really need is one card to act as a proxy for the array of cards we (may) currently carry.

        1. Neoc

          Re: Gone are the days of searching for your wallet

          There are various apps for that. I personally use Beep 'n Go - take photos of the front/back of your card, app tries to recognise the barcode (and asks you if it can't make it out). Next time you need a card simply open the app, tap the correct card and present the displayed barcode to the scanner. Worked for me on my Galaxy S4 so far (but apparently doesn't work with some of the older phones - don't ask me why).

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