Apple’s digital payment system has launched in the UK, backed by a number of high street retailers and banks. According to MasterCard, Apple Pay could ‘mark a change’ for mobile operators.
Speaking to Mobile, Mike Cowen, head of emerging payments products in UK and Ireland, explained that the deployment of Apple Pay was different to any other payment system.
Apple can fast-track potential users onto the mobile service using payment information already stored on their iTunes accounts. In the US, this feature was a driving force that enabled Apple to register one million users in 72 hours.
In the mobile space, Cowen believes that the introduction of a payment system controlled by Apple, and not the networks, could ‘mark a change’ for the operators.
He said: ‘People have been trying to deploy mobile payments and NFC projects for over five years now and until now even the most successful registered tens of thousands of users. Something that defines the difference in Apple Pay and the way that it is being deployed is that within first 72 hours in the US they had registered a million users. It is an order of magnitude bigger than anyone has managed to achieve in the preceding years.
‘While many of the earlier attempts to roll our mobile payments were controlled by the network operator, Apple Pay is controlled by Apple and this may mark a change in the market. It’s a new and game changing development and one that no one yet know how it will play out.
‘Mobile payments and contactless payments haven’t had the level of adoption people were hoping for. From what we’ve seen so far from Apple Pay it looks like it will bring mobile payments to the mainstream. We already know that major players such as Google and Samsung will adopt the same model to achieve scale, and Apple are pioneering that approach.’
The UK launch of Apple Pay was announced with the support of a number of retail outlets, including: Boots, TfL, McDonalds and Post Office. Many major banks are also supporting the system, with the exception of Barclays, who have launched its own range of payment wearables.