Over half of contactless payment terminals in the UK are now able to take Apple Pay transactions of any value, including Waitrose and Sainsbury's and Pizza Express and Nando’s.
They had previously been restricted to £30, the default upper limit for contactless card transactions, although Apple's Touch ID approval system on iPhones and iPads provides the extra security to go beyond that. ‘Of any value’ might be a little misleading, however. It seems that there is still a limit, but not one that would impact upon the majority of purchases (a figure of £6,000-£7,000 has been mentioned by retailers).
Anthony Duffy, Director of Retail Banking, UK and Ireland at Fujitsu, observes that by making this move, Apple Pay is seeking to attract new payment business to its platform. The decision will also serve to differentiate it from other payment wallets, coming, as it does, just days after Samsung Pay’s UK launch.
“The decision also reinforces the importance of fee-generating services, such as payments, for Apple and its competitors. Such services offer potentially significant income streams that technology-led companies are loath to ignore,” he says. “The existence of an individual payment ceiling undoubtedly helped build consumer familiarity in, and acceptance of, the payment vehicle in its early years. Its primary purpose was to address the fear of potential losses among the wary, at a time when consumer understanding of the mechanism had still to be built. As the number and value of contactless transactions has grown in recent years, so has the transaction ceiling and consumer confidence in the payment vehicle. Now that the limit has, effectively, been removed by Apple Pay, it will be interesting to observe how users react and whether they become just as comfortable in using the technology for larger payments as they are in using it for lower value transactions.”