Nine months after its launch in the United States, Apple Pay has today finally arrived in the UK. So, geek and early-adopter that I am, I found an excuse first thing this morning to visit my local convenience store to find out if they are among the reported 250,000 UK locations which will support Apple Pay from launch.
The good news is that they are. Even better news is that setting up and using Apple Pay on my Apple Watch really couldn’t have been any easier.
The first step was to add a bank card to the Passbook app on my iPhone. On first opening the app, things appeared no different than previously and there was no mention of Apple Pay or bank cards. A quick restart of my iPhone fixed this - now, in the centre of the screen was a button to add my bank card.
Working through this process offered me the option to either use the iPhone’s camera to automatically enter the card details or to do this manually. I opted for the former, expecting to have to resort to the latter after a few frustrating minutes spent trying to get the card in the exact spot to be identified. However, this proved not to be the case - after placing the camera lens on the centre of the card and slowly lifting my iPhone, VoiceOver announced within just a few seconds that it had found the card details. Hurrah!
Next was to enter my bank card’s security code, and then I was asked whether I wanted to call my bank to verify the card or have them send me a code by text message. Opting for the latter, the code had arrived and been entered on the iPhone within 30 seconds.
Have I mentioned yet just how easy this process is?
Next step was to setup my Apple Watch. This is done via the Apple Watch app on your iPhone (My Watch > Passbook & Apple Pay). I was somewhat surprised to find that I had to add my bank card again here. The steps were identical to adding it to the main Passbook app. And, fortunately, just as quick and easy.
To check that everything was setup and ready to go, I pressed twice on the Friends button on my Watch. VoiceOver’s response was to tell me that Apple Pay was ready and to hold my Watch near the reader to pay. Hurrah, again! It’s worth noting the the VoiceOver volume level was lowered when reading from this screen. I am wondering if this is done for security reasons. It’s not a big issue, but something to be prepared for when trying to hear what your Watch is saying in a busy and noisy store!
So, next was to head off to the store.
Having not used contactless payment before, my first question at the checkout was to see if they supported this. The answer was “yes”. The next question was whether it now also supported Apple Pay. The answer to this one was that they simply didn’t know. So, working from the basis that there was only one way to find out, I said that I wanted to make a contactless payment and had them point me towards the terminal.
Moving my wrist to within a few inches, there was an almost immediate “beep” from the terminal … the type of “beep” which hints at good rather than bad news. And, yes, that was it … I had paid for my small basket of groceries.
Now that I know that this store supports Apple Pay, and I know roughly where the payment terminal is, this should really be a breeze in the future.
Will it be a life-changer? No, of course not. But, as I would typically use cash to pay for smaller purchases, using Apple Pay now for these will remove the need to worry about identifying bank notes and coins. That’s certainly going to make things a little bit easier and a little bit quicker.
So, Apple Pay gets a thumbs up from me right now, as does the way that it works so well with VoiceOver.
As always, I would love to hear your own thoughts and experiences
Here are some links that you may find helpful in ensuring that your own experience with Apple Pay is equally positive: