Apple Pay gets more ‘Wallet’-like with new additions

Apple really, really wants to replace your physical wallet, even going as far as changing Passbook’s name to Wallet during a presentation at the company’s recent software developers’ conference.

The annual showcase also brought with it new Apple Pay features, including a firm launch date for the system’s long-awaited debut in the U.K., and news from Square about a new card reader that accepts contactless payments and EMV cards.

When Apple updates its mobile operating system to iOS 9 this fall, Apple Pay users will be able to add private-label, store-branded payment cards to Wallet, as well as loyalty cards.

BJ’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney are among the first retailers to announce private-label card support for Apple Pay, while consumers who frequent Dunkin’ Donuts and Walgreens will be able to add loyalty cards to Wallet from those respective merchants.

Coca-Cola, Panera Bread and Wegmans Food Markets also will bring their respective rewards programs to Apple Pay.

The new features also will be available to Apple Watch users in a software update available for download this fall.

“Apple Pay has kicked off a new era of payments and our users love the incredibly easy, secure and private way to pay,” Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in a statement. “We’re bringing our customers the most requested features with support for rewards and store-issued cards, and expanding how and where Apple Pay is accepted, which truly transforms the way people pay.”

Apple’s addition of loyalty cards to Apple Pay and Wallet comes a week after Google announced a similar feature for the upcoming Android Pay.

Square

Speaking of merchant acceptance, Apple, along with Android Pay, received a boost from Square, which will launch a new reader this fall that will enable merchants to accept all contactless payments and EMV cards. The device connects wirelessly to iOS and Android devices and works with the Square app. The company will also send users a free Square mag-stripe reader.

For a limited time, Square is offering the new reader free to sellers in specific merchant categories whose processing volume exceeds estimated or actual minimum requirements, according to the company’s website. The company will eventually sell the new reader for $49, and the merchant will receive $49 in reimbursed processing fees.

“Apple Pay created an easy, fast, and secure payment experience for customers,” said Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware at Square, in a statement. “We want to make it easy for every type and size of business to accept Apple Pay with our latest Square Reader, the most powerful and affordable contactless and EMV reader on the market.”

The U.K.

Apple Pay will arrive in the U.K. next month, ending months of speculation about when the system would arrive in a country that has a much more mature contactless infrastructure than the U.S. Many industry pundits believed Apple should have introduced Apple Pay first in the U.K. as a testing ground for the U.S.

Some of the biggest financial institutions in the U.K. will support Apple Pay, including the Bank of Scotland, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, MBNA, Nationwide, and the Royal Bank of Scotland, among others.

Barclays is not among the initial Apple Pay bank supporters in the U.K.

As for the retail sector in the U.K., Apple Pay will receive a lot of support there, too, as popular brands such as Boots, Costa Coffee, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose will support the system when it launches next month. Apple Pay acceptance overall will be available at 250,000 locations in the U.K., including the London transit system, which already supports open-loop contactless payments.

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