Apple Pay Confirmed to Have £20 Limit Per Transaction in UK

Apple Pay will be arriving for customers inside of the United Kingdom, backing support from about 250,000 UK merchants, sometime in July. Today, Apple released a support and FAQ page on its website to document the processes and answer the questions that some merchants may have with the impending launch of the service (via 9to5Mac).

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Following the confirmation by multiple banks on the matter earlier this month, Apple has confirmed that some retailers and specific out-of-date terminals will hinder customers to a £20 limit on their Apple Pay purchases (which will increase to £30 in September). However, the company does state that merchants with terminals "capable and configured properly" -- and a payment provider that supports the most up to date specifications on contactless payments -- will be able to support larger transaction sums.
Apple Pay allows your customers to make easy and secure contactless payments at any amount. If your payment terminal or payment provider doesn’t support the latest network specifications, as with contactless debit and credit cards today, your customers might need to insert their card if the transaction amount is over £20.

To accept Apple Pay for transactions over £20, your payment terminal must be capable and configured properly, and your payment provider needs to support the latest network contactless specifications.
The process for merchants to support a limit raise may be arduous, however, and as such most retailers will be facing the £20 right out of the gate when the service launches in July. Retailers supporting the "Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method," another support document updated today, will be able to enable "contactless payments for any amount." Unfortunately, the security-ensured method requires updated terminal software that may see a slow adoption rate to stores around the United Kingdom in the early days of Apple Pay.

The rest of the FAQ page details the expected list of questions about liable fraud charges for merchants, list of payment providers that support Apple Pay in the United Kingdom, and a process detailing return policies for customers using the mobile wallet. Apple also confirmed during WWDC that London-based Apple Pay users will be able to commute and pay for fares on London's Underground with the help of the service. The company also promised that the service will be backed by eight of the "most established banks" in the country when it launches.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay


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53 months ago

Can anyone tell me, please oh please, where these limitations keep coming from????

I have a US debit card, but live in the Czech Republic my whole life. Since I got my iPhone 6, I have been using Apple Pay at merchants in the Czech Rep, Slovakia, Germany, with no problem. Any store that has a contactless terminal accepts Apple Pay, I really don't understand, and I am genuinely interested to understand where all of this is coming from... Please? Someone?

A bit of history...

Long before Apple Pay was even announced, the UK was a pioneer of so-called contactless technology that allowed small transactions (originally up to £10, then later to £15 and now £20) to be paid for with a tap of any NFC-compatible debit card for conveniently buying a sandwich, coffee or newspaper. This was a quicker and faster way than using chip and pin (which the UK has had for years) and without the hassle of cash.

Gradually, more and more merchants have started using the technology, such as the London Underground, but it is still primarily designed for small payments because it doesn't have the security of entering a pin. Hence the limit is for security reasons.

Fast forward to 2015 and Apple, having very wisely chosen to support an existing standard to increase adoption, are using the existing network and hence have to play by the same rules. As adoption climbs and new versions of the technology (as Apple alludes in the document) can differentiate Apple Pay from other contactless cards then this will change, it will just take time. I would fully expect the official partner retailers to not have such limits, which is the positive I take out of the article.

So the limit is nothing to do with Apple Pay. And it wasn't artificially imposed either, it's just a relic of what got us here in the first place.
Rating: 14 Votes
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53 months ago
£20, so just a bottle of water then.

:p
Rating: 11 Votes
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53 months ago
This article is very misleading.
It has confirmed that the limit will not apply if a retailers software is up to date.
Rating: 8 Votes
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53 months ago
This is hilarious.

Almost like a headline stating "iPhone 6s and iPad Air 3 to only support 16GB of storage"

Then in the article "....if you purchase the 16GB models. The 64GB and 128GB models will support 64GB and 128GB of storage respectively"
Rating: 5 Votes
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53 months ago

No I understand that. I don't mean actual restrictions.... I mean these "propaganda'd" restrictions... As I said, I have been using Apple Pay in the Czech Republic for half a year now, regularly. Yet all of "the media" says that it is only supported in the US, and now will be introduced to the UK.... BUT IT'S NOT..... So I'm just curious if someone can explain this to me...

Because you're using a US debit card from a US bank which has signed up to Apple Pay.
Rating: 4 Votes
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53 months ago
In a nutshell -

The NFC standard for contactless in the UK was written (obviously) before Apple Pay, when the only contactless payments available were not so secure (No verification, literally just a card swipe), and so a limit was placed to reduce the amount of damage a fraudster could do if they stole your contactless card.

Now Apple Pay has come along and is much more secure than previous methods, but sadly still has to abide by the rules written for the not so secure methods.

So - a new standard has been created for Apple Pay and other subsequent secure contactless payments called "Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method", but unfortunately this will require up to date hardware on the shop's behalf, and also the latest software running on it.

Once the shops have that in place, payments over £20 (£30 in Sept) will be accepted.
Rating: 3 Votes
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53 months ago
Also I agree with the several comments that this headline is very misleading and will only fuel further confusion about the issue (and seems to already have done) - please change it MR!
Rating: 2 Votes
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53 months ago

Supermarkets haven't completely jumped on contactless yet. Around my way, my local Tesco's and Co-op don't support it. Neither do the smaller cornershops, garages, etc. Highstreet stores are more likely to have it. The only shop to have it around my way is a Mcdonalds and a Co-op Pharmacy, not even the Co-op supermarket has it!

I do love the tech though. I think the £20 limit is okay, it just speeds up smaller purchases.


I was in a Morrisons that had it the other day which was a nice surprise... although the improved self-service checkout speed was mitigated somewhat by the need to wait for an attendant to glance at me and confirm I was clearly old enough to buy a bottle of wine... NFC/Passbook driver's licences next anyone?
Rating: 2 Votes
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53 months ago

£20, so just a bottle of water then.

:p


Or a packet of Walkers crisps - rather, a packet of flavoured air & 10 crisps. :D
Rating: 2 Votes
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53 months ago
I just started using the contactless feature on my UK Amex card and I've discovered a few things about UK contactless payments due to anomalies compared to Chip and PIN (CnP) payments that I have noticed regarding how the transactions are posted to my account and my subsequent research.

I think the issue with the £20 limit is to do with how, or more particularly when, a payment is authorised. If you do a CnP transaction the terminal contacts the credit card issuer's servers and it won't complete the transaction until the authorisation has been received from the servers. You can actually see this happening in many cases if you watch the machine print the receipt, it prints half of it and then pauses. This is because it has got to the line where it needs to print the authorisation code on the receipt so it pauses at that point (and during busy shopping days this is usually where the shop assistant says after 10 seconds or so "I'm sorry, the servers are really slow today") and then once the servers respond the machine finishes printing the receipt.

When doing a contactless payment the point of sale terminal (POS) doesn't wait for authorisation from the back end servers. The contactless payments are authorised against the card user's account at a later date which is why a contactless payment doesn't immediately appear online as a pending transaction and can take a couple of days before it is posted to the cardholder's statement. Some discussion of this here: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5121532

As I understand it Apple Pay has the ability to authorise at point of sale via the per-transaction tokens that it generates in which case it is, for the merchant, just as safe as a CnP transaction. If the card is reported stolen or in some other way blocked by the servers the merchant will find out before allowing the customer to walk out with hundreds or even thousands of pounds worth of goods. A pub selling drinks or some other sub-£20 transaction probably thinks that the risks are about the same as having a dodgy £20 note passed off to them and so are willing to risk not having the card validated at point of sale and suffering the loss if, when the transaction is sent to the credit card company at a later date, it is rejected as being an invalid card. It's even possible that the credit card issuer might underwrite these losses, I don't know about that one and I somehow doubt it but then again the credit card companies have been pushing contactless very hard so who knows (if anyone does know I'd be interested in the answer).

I assume that UK merchants can simply treat an Apple Pay request as a regular UK contactless card transaction with no changes to their system but, if they want the PoS systems to say "ah, this is Apple Pay so I'll try to authorise the transaction immediately" then some reconfiguration is needed which is why some might not bother initially.
Rating: 2 Votes
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