Hurrah! Barclays finally admits defeat and joins Apple Pay

Essential eCommerce’s Caroline Baldwin celebrates the ability to use her iPhone to its full potential now Barclays has joined the payments revolution.

It’s been a busy week for Essential eCommerce, and as I write this I’m still jet lagged after a week in Miami covering Demandware’s Xchange conference. But one of the most exciting nuggets of information I learned last week had to be the news Barclays and Barclaycard both surrendering to Apple Pay – only nine months after all the other major UK banking institutions.

Yes, I was in sunny Miami, but I’ve been writing about digital wallets for years, desperately waiting for the day when I could pay with my phone, so when my bank, Barclays, didn’t immediately sign up when Apple Pay launched last year, I was thoroughly disappointed.

Of course, Barclays has its own digital payment initiatives, including bPay and Pingit, which it would prefer its customers to use, but thinking you can just ignore other ways customers are digitally interacting with your brand is ludicrous. It’s a shame they took nine months to launch Apple Pay, because I think its iOS app is spot on and I’ve known people who have signed up to other banks in order to gain the contactless payment capability. Luckily for Barclays, most people – like myself – can’t be bothered with the hassle of switching banks, but stop for a moment and think if this stalemate had occurred in the retail environment – if retailers don’t listen to the demands of their customers, they will choose to shop elsewhere without a second thought.

But Apple Pay for Barclays customers is finally here. And when I received the forwarded press release from my editor while in the US last week, I did a little jig of excitement.

I was concerned that setting up my debit card on Apple Pay while in the States would flag up a fraud alert, so I decided it might be sensible to wait until I returned to the UK. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I added my card to my Apple Wallet as soon as my plane touched down on the runway and the ‘fasten your seatbelt’ sign had been switched off. I was up and running in seconds and have been happily tapping my iPhone ever since – feeling like I’m using the expensive device to its full potential.

Finally, I won’t be leaving my debit card in the pockets of coats, jeans, jackets and cardigans, leaving the house without it, fumbling in a panic when I arrive at the barriers of the Tube.

To complete my digital wallet fantasy, all I need now is for retailers to successfully integrate their loyalty cards, while I’m also looking forward to one day having the ability to open my front door with a tap of my rose gold device.
And as for those Barclays customers who own an Android device, don’t hold your breath for a parallel launch from the bank when Google rolls out Android Pay in the summer. Barclays confirmed to Tech Radar that if would not support it. bPay anyone?

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