Apple Pay with iPhone 6
Contactless mobile payments service Apple Pay will be launched in the UK in the next two months, industry sources sayApple

Apple will announce the launch of its Apple Pay contactless mobile payments service at its Worldwide Developers Conference 2015 which kicks off in San Francisco on Monday, 8 June.

The Apple Pay service, which enables users to pay for purchases directly via their mobile phone using Near Field Communications (NFC), will apparently be switched on in the UK within two months, according to sources speaking to The Telegraph.

Apple has been in talks with both retailers and banks to get them on board since it first launched the new technology last year.

MasterCard told IBTimes UK on 4 June that it is "absolutely ready" to switch on the contactless payment system across Europe: "That's one of the advantages of doing this on a global platform. It's there, it's switched on, we just have to connect the services at the back end... it takes a couple of days."

The new service will allow users to add their credit and debit card information to their iPhone, which is stored in a wireless microchip on the device, and then use their device to make payments up to a maximum of £20.

One-touch checkout

Consumers will also be able to tap their phone on the contactless card reader on the London Underground and other Transport for London (TfL) services, similar to the way contactless debit cards can be tapped today.

"One-touch checkout, no card number entry, no need to type addresses, no card information shared with merchant," Apple announced at its press conference on 9 September 2014.

Enabling consumers to pay for purchases using their smartphones has long been of interest to many in the mobile industry, and there have been numerous attempts by various mobile operators, banks and even smartphone manufacturers to kick-start the mobile payments revolution.

All these services have so far failed because none of these separate companies have enough subscribers to use the service, in order for it to spread in popularity.

Despite Android being the world's most popular smartphone operating system, many believe Apple is the one company with enough reach, brand awareness and marketing clout to make mobile payments popular. It already has debit and credit card record for over 600 million users linked to iTunes accounts, and according to the latest figures from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech, iPhones accounted for over 35% of smartphone sales in the last quarter in the UK.

Skeptical

However on 6 June Reuters published a report which called into question just how enthusiastic top retailers are about the platform. "Interviews with analysts, merchants and others suggest that Apple's forecast may be too optimistic and that many retailers remain skeptical about the payment system," the report said.

There are also more than 300,000 NFC-enabled payment terminals being used by UK retailers and food and beverage outlets such as Costa, Boots, Tesco, McDonalds, Waitrose, Greggs, Marks and Spencer, and Super Drug, as part of a prior push towards NFC by Visa.

By February 2015, 58 million contactless cards had been issued to consumers in the UK, and the number of contactless purchases accounted for 4.6% of total purchases, according to latest statistics from the UK Cards Association.

Using contactless cards to pay on the TfL transport network is one reason for growth on the service.