Sources say contactless payments service will be switched on in two months
Apple is poised to reveal that it is planning to launch Apple Pay, its contactless mobile payments service, in Britain this summer.
The Silicon Valley giant is expected to make the announcement on Monday in San Francisco at its annual jamboree for software developers, industry sources say. The service will be switched on in around two months, they said.
It will mark a major development for the payments industry. Multiple attempts by mobile operators and banks to get contactless mobile payments up and running in Britain have failed amid industry infighting and consumer indifference.
Apple has been in talks with banks and retailers about its launch since last year, sources said, and has the clout to drive adoption by both industry and consumers.
The iPhone accounts for more than 40pc of smartphones sold here, and owners tend to be big-spending consumers.
Much of the infrastructure for needed for Apple Pay is already in place thanks to investment in contactless debit and credit payment technology. The iPhone contains a wireless microchip similar to those in contactless payment cards, allowing Apple Pay users to store their details and to wave the handset over a terminal to pay.
Transport for London is already taking Apple Pay payments for travel in the capital from American tourists. The service was introduced in the US in October.
Mike Cowan, a senior executive at MasterCard, said the company was “absolutely ready” to support Apple Pay in the UK.
“That’s one of the advantages of doing this on a global platform, it takes a couple of days.”
Even with Apple’s unrivalled power as a smartphone maker, mobile payments have yet to convince in the US. There, contactless payment terminals are rarer, and the company is facing calls to introduce support for retailer loyalty schemes in the Apple Pay app.
Thomas Husson, an industry analyst at Forrester, said: “What they announce next will help determine if Apple Pay moves from the nice-to-have bucket to the must-have bucket for both merchants and shoppers.”
Apple will have high hopes for the UK, however. Contactless spending trebled last year to £2.3bn.
This article was written by Christopher Williams and James Titcomb from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.