Contactless payment What is Apple Pay?
Contactless payments aren't limited to cards. Some companies have harnessed the same near-field communications technology to enable contactless payments through mobile phones and other gadgets.
Apple Pay is a high-profile example. This page covers how it works and how it compares with other systems.
What is Apple Pay?
Apple Pay lets users quickly pay for goods worth up to £30 by moving their mobile phone over a contactless reader, removing the need to use a card or enter a Pin. Anyone with an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or an Apple Watch linked to an iPhone 5 or above can use it.
Apply Pay and Barclaycard bPay
Barclaycard has launched it own cardless payment system - bPay. Using either a wristband, a sticker for your mobile phone or a fob key, you can add money to each device and use it to pay via a contactless reader.
Video: Apple Pay vs Barclaycard bPay
How does Apple Pay work?
To use Apple Pay, you will need to store the card details you want to use on your iPhone. You can do this by using your phone's camera to capture the details and these are then stored in a pre-installed app - Apple Passbook.
When it comes to paying, you hold your phone or watch to a contactless reader - as you would if you were paying with a contactless card - and a vibration will confirm that a payment has been made.
If you're using an iPhone you'll be required to use Apple's fingerprint recognition technology, Touch ID, when making a purchase. If the phone doesn't recognise your fingertip, then the transaction won't be made. Apple Watch doesn't require you to do this, meaning you have to just place your watch next to a reader to make a payment.
Where can I use Apple Pay?
Apple Pay launched in the UK in July 2015 and is said to work at more than 250,000 locations; it has the backing of major banks, too. At time of launch, customers of Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest, Nationwide or Santander could use the service, while customers of Bank of Scotland, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, TSB and First Direct, are due to be offered it by the end of 2015. Barclays is also expected to support it during 2015.
Customers with a credit card from American Express, Mastercard or Visa can also use Apple Pay.
Major shops already accept Apple Pay payments, including Starbucks, the Post Office, Boots and Waitrose, while Marks & Spencer lets you spend more than the contactless cap.
Find out more: Learn about contactless cards
Is Apple Pay safe?
Apple Pay appears to be as least as secure as contactless payments. When you add a card to the service, its details are encrypted and stored only on your iPhone, not on Apple's servers, and when it comes to transactions it uses something called a Device Account Number instead, meaning your card details aren't used during purchases at all.
The fingerprint technology adds another layer of security but if you were to lose your phone or it was stolen, you could stop payments by logging in to Apple's iCloud or by putting your device into 'lost mode' via the Find My Phone app.
Which? carried out tests on contactless cards in the summer of 2015. We were able to 'steal' enough card details to order goods online, including a £3,000 television. Find out more about our investigation into contactless cards.
Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.