Apple Pay UK launch 14 July: Mobile payments coming to iPhone and Apple Watch imminently

Lynsey Barber
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Apple Pay will soon debut in the UK (Source: Getty)

Apple's expected to launch its mobile payment service, Apple Pay, in the UK as soon as next week in its first mobile payment move beyond the US.

iPhone users will be able to pay with just the tap of a smartphone, or Apple Watch, across the high street and on the London Underground from 14 July, according to reports.

A July launch date was announced at Apple's WWDC event last month - now, leaked details of at least two retailers' communications to staff in preparation for the debut reveal the service will land next week, tech blog 9to5mac reports, with one memo claiming to be from supermarket Waitrose.

Read more: These are the retailers and restaurants signed up for the July launch

It's the first move by Apple in the wider roll-out of the mobile wallet, which will be used at more than 250,000 shops, banks, restaurants and online retailers, from Boots and the Post Office to Starbucks and Santander.

The UK market for contactless payment has rocketed, tripling in a year and taking the total spent via contactless to £2.32bn in 2014. Widespread uptake of the technology is more muted however, with research suggesting just a third of Brits would use their phone to make a payment under £20, and only 15 per cent for larger payments, despite the popularity of Oyster cards and contactless travel payment among Londoners.

In the US Apple Pay has become the biggest NFC (near field communication) mobile payment service in the country, accounting for one per cent of all digital payment dollars, but mainstream adoption has also been slow.

Read more: Apple Pay launches: Why mobile payment is about take off

Fewer than a quarter of the US's top 100 retailers currently accept Apple Pay and just four companies said they had plans to do so this year, according to Reuters,

Apple Pay made its debut in the US at the end of last year, with backing from a host of big-name financial institutions and retailers.

Visa, Amex and Mastercard support in the US could be extended across the pond, while Apple has formed new partnerships with UK banks and high street retailers.

Apple boss Tim Cook told investors at the start of the year that "2015 will be the year of Apple Pay", but adoption of the technology has been slower than expected.

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