Apple Introduces Tap to Pay on iPhone for Contactless Payments in the UK

Apple Tap to Pay

Apple has begun offering its Tap to Pay on iPhone feature to merchants in the U.K.

The new offering, announced Thursday (July 13), lets merchants accept Apple Pay and other contactless payment methods with just an iPhone.

“We’ve seen Tap to Pay on iPhone transform the checkout experience for so many different types of businesses, and we’re thrilled to now support merchants across the U.K. by offering an easy, secure, and private way to accept contactless payments using the power, security, and convenience of iPhone, with no additional hardware needed,” Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet, said in a press release.

With Tap to Pay on iPhone, businesses across the country — no matter their size — can now use their iPhone and a partner-enabled iOS app to accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards and other digital wallets.

The launch comes as contactless payment offerings are booming in popularity.

According to “The 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index: U.K. Edition,” a PYMNTS and Cybersource collaboration, 58% of in-store shoppers in the U.K. paid via contactless card in 2022, a 94% year-over-year increase.

A large part of that stems from the increased use of wallets. In-store digital wallet use tripled year over year in England, as 20% of in-store shoppers paid via digital wallet last year.

“According to our research, 337% more in-store shoppers paid via Apple Pay in 2022 than one year prior,” PYMNTS wrote. “This explosive growth is likely due to the increase in Apple Pay’s spending limit, which went into effect on October 15, 2021.”

By hiking that limit from 45 pounds to 100 pounds, Apple instantly expanded the pool of eligible purchases and almost certainly contributed to the year-over-year jump in both Apple Pay and digital wallet use in the U.K.

“Tap to pay is going to change the payments industry,” PayPal Head of Product for Microbusiness Ed Hallett told PYMNTS recently.

“It’s the next disruptive innovation. Looking back 15 years ago, there was an equivalent innovation cycle within card payments around mobile [point of sale (POS)]… You had a real push to unlock large portions of the [small and medium-sized business (SMB)] space who previously didn’t take card payments. They were now able to provide that capability.”

Payment service providers, card schemes and the ubiquitous presence of smart devices combined to unlock that innovation cycle, Hallett added.