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More than half of UK retailers now take Apple Pay over £30, giving m-payments the edge over contactless cards

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Jennifer Bailey, head of Apple’s payments business, has announced that more than half of contactless billing & payment terminals in the UK will now accept Apple Pay transactions of more than £30 – taking Apple Pay into the territory not serviced by contactless cards and boosting m-payments.

Retailers now accepting the higher-value payments include supermarkets such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and restaurants including Pizza Express and Nando’s.

The move comes as the m-payments bubble in-store looked in danger of bursting. The most recent data from PYMNTS.com shows that both adoption of Apple Pay and its usage are showing the first signs of decline. Android Pay and Samsung Pay have yet to show this decline but this is due to the fact that they have not been around long enough to show this trend. Neither of these two offer anything that Apple does not and in almost every case, we think Apple does it better.

The percentage of iOS users surveyed that had tried Apple Pay fell from 23.8% in June 2016 to 21.9% in March 2017. Furthermore, in March 2017, 48.6% of those users that had not tried Apple Pay said that they were happy with their current payment method (plastic card) compared to 37.0% in March 2015. Of those that have used it, those that “use it at every opportunity that we get” fell from 48% in March 2015 to just 18.7% in March 2017.

But Apple’s move now make Apple pay a more attractive alternative to contactless cards for many. The news also comes as Forrester predicts that mobile payments are set to almost triple over the next five years, vaulting from €52 billion at the end of 2015 to €148 billion by 2021.

Mobile in-person payments will grow the fastest, increasing almost fivefold between 2016 and 2021, from €4.6 billion in 2016 to €22.8 billion in 2021; they will account for nearly 16% of all mobile payments in the EU-7.

The launch of European mobile payment platforms, such as BNP Paribas’ Wa! in France and PayPal’s collaboration with Vodafone Wallet to enable in-person payments in Italy, as well as the market entry of technology giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung have led to greater consumer awareness of and opportunities for mobile in-person payments.

The move also is another step towards empowering the High Street with mobile. According to Paul Lewis, Senior Director of Marketing at VoucherCodes.co.uk and RetailMeNot: “Apple Pay provides both retailers and consumers alike a fantastic opportunity in the high street – we already know when it comes to the consumer it’s all about convenience and ease of use and this is exactly what Apple Pay provides. And we know they’re embracing the technology.”

In fact, research from VoucherCodes.co.uk, part of RetailMeNot, in 2016 shows that mobile payments alone accounted for £17.24 million in-store last year.

Lewis continues: “But for retailers, the opportunities Apple Pay provides are much more beneficial from a business perspective. Mobile is at the very heart of the shopping experience, we know this because consumers use their devices at every single stage of the shopping journey, from finding a product on the store website, locating the stock and even comparing prices. Apple Pay completes this digital cycle and shows a step in the right direction to making the overall customer journey as seamless and as simple as possible, and forward-thinking retailers should already be aware of the massive opportunities mobile technology can provide. The tech giant has made it increasingly likely we’ll see mass adoption of the digital wallet in just a few short years.”

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