Barclays adds Apple Pay support 9 months after UK launch

article thumbnail

After months of waiting in the wings, Barclays customers in the UK can now provision bank-issued cards for use with Apple Pay on compatible devices, as the bank finally flipped the switch on Apple's mobile payments service.

A number of iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch owners woke up to discover the Apple Pay addition on Tuesday, with multiple Barclays account holders reporting successful card activations like the example seen above, posted to Twitter by UK magazine MacFormat.

As a major UK bank, Barclays was expected to be among the first card-issuing institutions to offer Apple Pay support, but the firm was notably absent from the launch list Apple announced at WWDC 2015. Barclays received a number of complaints from customers, some of whom threatened to leave the bank over the matter. The firm's CEO of Personal and Corporate Banking division Ashok Vaswani issued a statement one day after Apple's announcement, saying the company was working to add Apple Pay to its existing mobile payments offerings.

Apple's payments service went live in the UK last July with partner companies American Express, First Direct, HSBC, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank, while Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland were added as part of a second rollout in September.

Seemingly late to the game, Vaswani confirmed an application to the Apple Pay program in October, telling customers to expect service activation in early 2016. Most recently, the executive released a statement in January suggesting Apple Pay support would ultimately arrive in March.

Apple first announced its mobile payments solution in 2014, touting the system's easy to use touchless NFC interface and integration with Touch ID. Following a U.S. rollout, Apple Pay availability expanded to the UK last summer before reaching Canada and Australia a few months later. Most recently, Apple Pay reached China in February, with early figures suggesting more than 3 million activations in just two days.