If rumours are right, Apple Pay is about to go live in the UK real soon and is perhaps just days away. (It may already be live by the time you read this.) This may have been a big deal in the US, but here in the UK we have had contactless payments for ages and I see no reason to switch to Apple.

Apple Pay was important in the US when it was launched because it is about as decade behind the rest of the world in terms of payment systems. People here in the UK have been paying for goods using contactless payments for some time though. In fact, I bought my coffee at Starbucks today using a contactless payment with no phone needed.

The thing is, credit cards and debit cards here in the UK are all contactless these days. You just get your credit card out of your pocket, tap the terminal and that’s it. The item is paid for. How is it more convenient or better to get my iPhone out and fiddle around with it?

credit card

Here is why Apple Pay is not such a big deal in the UK: If I use my credit/debit card I can just tap the terminal to pay. If the shop or wherever I am at does not support contactless payment, I just insert the card in the terminal and use chip and PIN. All our credit/debit cards have been chip and PIN for a decade and support is universal. 100%. Any place that accepts credit/debit cards, uses chip and PIN. So credit/debit cards never fail to work.

Now if I go into a shop, restaurant or wherever with my iPhone and it does not accept contactless payment, I’m stuck and can’t pay. Either you carry around your iPhone and a pocket full of cash for those places where it is not accepted, or you must carry your credit/debit card in your pocket.

No-one walks around with a pocket full of cash these days and I only ever carry a few coins or a single small note. I never go anywhere without a credit/debit card because you never know when you might need or want to buy something. Cash may have been king last century, but these day everything is paid for with plastic.

If I always have a contactless payment card in my pocket when I am out, why do I need to use my iPhone? Am I missing something here or is Apple Pay simply not needed in the UK? I have been making contactless payments for ages and see no reason to change.