HSBC and First Direct customers in the UK can now use Apple Pay

Apple Pay UK

Two weeks after Apple Pay launched in the United Kingdom, HSBC and First Direct customers can now use the service. Both banks were originally supposed to support Apple Pay at launch, and were even mentioned in Apple’s support document listing participating banks, but were delayed due to “some issues” until late July.

Apple Pay in the UK imposes a £20 transaction limit as a security measure due to outdated POS terminals. Apple said the £20 limit will increase to £30 in September. The cap will go away once retailers roll out more modern contactless payment terminals.

HSBC appears to be requiring that would-be Apple Pay users have a personal bank account with a Visa Debit Card.

Apple’s FAQ explains that many merchant terminals and payment providers in the UK currently do not support the latest network specifications for contactless debit and credit cards.

As a result, paying for higher-value transactions with Apple Pay require confirming the transaction with a PIN or signature.

Upon upgrading their contactless payment terminals with a technology called Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method, retailers will be permitted to remove the cap so customers will be allowed to use Apple Pay without a PIN or signature.

At the time of this writing, the following UK banks supported Apple Pay:

  • American Express
  • HSBS
  • First Direct
  • NatWest
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • MBNA
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander
  • Ulster Bank

Both Lloyds Bank and Barclays committed to support Apple Pay in the future.

In addition, the official Apple Pay webpage lists Halifax, M&S Bank and TSB Bank as “coming soon.” In addition, customers in the UK will soon be able to pay with Apple Pay at Five Guys restaurants and Wilko stores across the country.

Apple Pay is supported on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch for in-store and in-app purchases. In-app Apple Pay purchases are also supported on the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2.

For more information on setting up and using Apple Pay on your iOS devices, check out Jeff’s tutorial. If you plan on using Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, we have you covered, too!