Apple Pay UK launch makes the case for Apple Watch

Apple Pay rolled out in the United Kingdom this morning, with support from American Express, MasterCard and Visa, as well as MBNA, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, and Ulster Bank.

Bank of Scotland, HSBC and its subsidiary first direct, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, and TSB are prepping their systems and will be available soon. Obviously, this list will expand as Apple signs up new Apple Pay partners.

One prominent use case, shown in this image, is the use of Apple Pay to pay for the tube or metro. Think long lines, combined with short transactions. Another similar case would be entry to a stadium for a concert or sporting event.

The Apple Watch is perfect for these sorts of transactions. No reaching in your pocket or backpack for your phone, something made even harder in the crush of a long line in a crowded metro or tube station. In these settings, the value of Apple Pay is leveraged by an Apple Watch. As useful as the Apple Watch is in a meeting, the additive efficiency of a long queue of similar transactions, each made slightly faster, makes a strong case for the long term prospects of the Apple Watch.

As Apple proves time and time again, it’s all about the ecosystem. Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple Music, iPhone, iPad, and the Mac all contribute to the ecosystem. In return, the ecosystem adds value to every device Apple rolls out to the consumer.



  • Now airlines and the TSA need to modify their scanners so we don’t have to remove our watches, then type in the passcode, and hope we get it read before it locks itself again, and the Apple Watch will actually be useful getting on airplanes. I love my watch, but I use my phone at the airport, because it fits the design of their scanners. My wrist does not.

  • John Parkinson

    One problem with the tube gates is that the readers tend to be on the right side as you walk through. So it’s actually less convenient than using the phone or an Oyster card for anyone who wears their Watch on the left wrist.

    • nomster

      Yeah that’s a good point – most people will have the watch on the other wrist.

      And any person who has travelled on public transport at least once before will have their NFC oyster card in their hand well before they reach the gate / turnstile.

      I guess Apple pay will be good for for American iPhone owners travelling to London who will now not have to get an oyster card – and vice versa I suppose if similar system now operates on US public transport (?)

  • Graeme

    I used my watch to pay for a coffee and a pastry yesterday, which was nice. I also cancelled my Oyster card (London Underground) and got a refund on the balance as it’s over a year since I’ve last been in London and next time I go I’ll just use my watch.

    I live in the Midlands, and there’s a stretch of toll motorway that runs between where I live and my Dad lives (the M6 Toll). It bypassess a very busy section of the M6 through Birmingham, so if I’m in a rush or the traffic is particularly bad I use it when I go to visit my Dad. The toll booths have contactless payment on them and I always end up trying to get my wallet out of my pocket as I approach the booth. Next time I’ll just stick my arm out of the window and pass my watch over the scanner.

  • Eddie Cameron

    So as an American iPhone user and Apple Watch wearer with a MasterCard I’ll be able to use Apple Pay when I travel to the UK next month? With little to no problmes?