International

HSBC And First Direct Join Apple Pay UK Bandwagon

Apple Pay’s launch in the U.K. earlier this month saw many major banks jumping on board in support of the payment method, but now HSBC and First Direct have finally announced the availability of their credit and debit cards through the payment technology.

Apple Pay’s launch in the U.K. earlier this month saw many major banks jumping on board in support of the payment method, but now HSBC and First Direct have finally announced the availability of their credit and debit cards through the payment technology.

When Apple Pay made its debut across the pond, HSBC was missing from the list of the major U.K. banks slated to partner with the payment method, which included American Express, MasterCard, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Visa Europe and Ulster Bank.

At the time, an HSBC spokesperson told AppleInsider it was “working closely with Apple,” with plans to continue “properly reviewing and testing our systems before launching in two weeks.”

Now, the bank has made good on that promise, while also enabling support for First Direct — an Internet- and phone-based HSBC brand with no actual branch locations.

While HSBC and First Direct have made the move to Apple Pay, there are still many other banks continuing to hold out. Most notably is Barclays, which has yet to define how long it will take before its customers will have access to Apple Pay.

Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, M&S Bank, TSB, Coutts and Halifax all reportedly plan to launch the service later this year.

While Apple Pay’s U.K. launch has seen a few bumps in the road, including the mass transit London Underground reporting a few glitches, the service reportedly deployed with a very comparable merchant set in the U.K. as it did in the U.S.

Apple Pay was in about 250,000 retail locations at its launch — basically the same as its early numbers in the U.S. It does bear noting, however, that as a smaller country with fewer merchant locations in total, 250K does represent a greater penetration by percentage than Apple enjoyed in its home market.

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