MasterCard says it is "absolutely ready" to switch on the new Apple Pay contactless payments system in the UK and Europe – and is just waiting for the iPhone maker's green light.
Launched in the US last year, Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 and Apple Watch users pay for goods by tapping their watch or phone at the point of payment, instead of using cash or a credit card.
Apple is expected to extend the service to the UK, Europe and the rest of the world soon; dates for this could be revealed as soon as June 8, when its annual Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off in San Francisco.
Speaking to a group of journalists, the credit card company said it is "absolutely ready" to bring Apple Pay to the UK. "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."
Once enabled, Apple Pay will let users add credit and debit card information to their iPhone, which can then be used to make payments of up to £20 – similar to how contactless cards work now. Apple Pay can also be used on the Tube and other Transport for London (TfL) services. Speaking of TfL, director of customer experience Shashi Verma praised contactless payments for getting customers through stations and onto buses more quickly, as the system is seeing 18,000 new contactless cards used every day.
Expanding on how wearables like the Apple Watch can be used to make payments, MasterCard said it is working on a system which uses a customer's unique heart ECG pattern to identify them and authenticate payments. The Apple Watch, or other wearables with heart rate monitors, could do this, eliminating the need to enter a PIN.