How TfL may be key to success for Apple Pay in the UK

Oyster Reader Tom Page Wikimedia commonsApple Pay arrived in the UK this week and one measure of its success will be how it performs on the London transport network.

Apple Pay allows people to use their iPhones in the same way as a contactless card by setting up payment details in an app on the device and touching it on the card reader.

London is the contactless capital of the country accounting for 38% of all transactions according to the payment services company Worldpay. Since it adopted contactless payments alongside the Oyster card across the network in September last year Transport for London has been a key driver in the rapid rise of contactless payment.

There are about 1.2 million contactless transactions on the transport network each weekday according to Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience.

Analysis of contactless usage by the UK Card Association, the trade body for the card payment industry,  in December found that TfL were the source of 11% of all contactless usage in the country. Supermarkets, coffee shops, bars and takeaways are the other big users.

Early reports on Apple Pay indicated that some people were finding it slower to open the gates on the Underground than using a credit/debit card or an Oyster.

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TfL warned customers to make sure that their phone was charged to ensure they would be able to touch out at the end of their journey as Apple Pay will not work if the device is out of power.

Samsung and Google are looking at their own payment methods so paying by phone may soon become commonplace.

From September this year the limit on contactless transactions will increase from £20 to £30, so the relentless rise of cash free lifestyle is likely to grow, with London at the forefront of the change.

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