Longtime Apple Pay holdout Barclays has caved in and promised to support the contactless payment technology, mere hours after the service launched in the UK.
The payment service is already supported by numerous big name banks and payment providers including:
- American Express
- Visa Europe
- Nationwide Building Society
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- Ulster Bank
Barclays had originally been shady about whether it planned to support Apple Pay, potentially fearing it would hamper adoption of its equivalent bPay contactless payment service.
However, a Barclays spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the bank will support Apple Pay:
“We are really excited about the launch of Apple Pay and can confirm that we will bring Barclays debit cards and Barclaycard credit cards to Apple Pay in the future.”
The spokesperson declined Business Insider’s request for more details about when the support will be added, but said they expect a further announcement “is coming in the near future.”
Westminster Business School senior lecturer Dr Felicity Hardley told Business Insider Barclays’ alleged fears may be justified, claiming the widespread use of iPhones will likely make Apple Pay more popular with consumers than the bank’s own services.
“Today’s launch of Apple Pay could dramatically accelerate the use of contactless payments by consumers and could increase sales of iPhones and the Apple Watch,” she said.
“A significant number of consumers already have the technology to utilise Apple Pay which means they can ‘try it out’ with relative ease and no additional expense, unlike the new Barclaycard wearable contactless payment devices.”
If Barclays is to keep pace with competing banks, it will have to add Apple Pay support fast. HSBC has pledged to have it up and running by the end of July.
Many other banks have promised to have Apple support rolled out by the end of 2015’s third quarter. These include:
- Bank of Scotland
- Lloyds Bank
- M&S Bank
- TSB Bank
Contactless payment is the latest battleground between Apple and its long-term rival Google. Google unveiled a competing Android Pay service at its I/O developer conference in May.
Android Pay offers similar services to Apple Pay and will let phones running Android KitKat and above make contactless payments using their handset at supported stores. The service is set to launch at an unspecified point later this year. Google claims 700,000 stores will support Android Pay. The figure puts Android Pay, on paper, ahead of Apple Pay, which was supported at 250,000 locations at launch.
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