Apple Pay is going international starting with the United Kingdom next month. The precise nature of how Apple Pay will work in the UK has been murky, with banks saying different things. Apple has now posted a FAQ to explain the situation.

Apple Pay will work with any current contactless reader. By default, it uses the same technology as other UK contactless cards. This means that performing an Apple Pay purchase will not require a PIN (as is standard with UK Chip and PIN payments). However, the usual £20 limit on contactless transactions does apply … for the time being. When Apple Pay launches in July, almost all merchants will only allow Apple Pay purchases up to £20 …

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From September, this limit rises to £30 for all contactless transactions  — including Apple Pay. This means that Apple Pay users will benefit from an increased limit on purchases.

It had been hoped that this limit would not apply at all, as Touch ID offers arguably the same or better authentication than a four-digit code does, but this is not the case without upgrades to hardware from merchants. If retailers adopt readers that support a technology called ‘Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method’.

This requires new payment processors, so will have to be adopted slowly by merchants and shops over time, but enables the contactless payments to go through taking into account the Touch ID verification. As such, transactions can exceed the normal £20/£30 limits without requiring a PIN or signature. No additional action is needed by consumers for this feature — it simply requires the merchants to use new payment terminals.

Apple Pay launches in the UK in July and is compatible with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch. All major UK banks have signed up to support Apple Pay in the UK apart from Barclays — which is yet to agree a deal with Apple.

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