APPLE PAY launched in the UK over two months ago, so it's by no means new. But for me, as a Lloyds Bank customer, I was able to get my claws on it only this week when support for the contactless payment system was finally rolled out alongside Halifax (leaving just the stubborn Barclay's as the only major UK bank to avoid it ... for now).
For some odd reason that no-one in the customer services department at Lloyds can seem to explain, my bank has been really selective over the years about who it gives contactless debit cards to. Asking for a contactless debit card for a Lloyds current account is like asking for a bucket of rocking horse sh*t. It just ain't happenin'.
As a result, I have forever looked on with envious eyes at friends and acquaintances as they flash their contactless cards from rival banks at shops and restaurants like it was about to go out of fashion, and thus have more time to move swiftly on to do something slightly more interesting, like take a dump. This is while I - yes poor old me - am left behind to push four of the dirtiest buttons I will ever touch: the chip and PIN keypad, a breeding ground for germs perpetually fingered by hands that have probably been in places I'd not care to know of.
But now that Lloyds supports Apple Pay, I can use my bank card anywhere that accepts contactless payment - which is most places these days - for the first time, via my phone, which I'd like to think is little more hygienic than a PIN pad. And it's liberating. Now, I can be in even more denial about spending less than I actually am, because I'm even further detached from the transaction process than before. Ah, sweet ignorance.
I realise that my argument here is a very ‘first world problem' and I sound like a spoiled brat: 'Oh my gosh, I have to waste my time waiting for the machine to register that I put in my card, and then actually input my PIN all just for this £3 skinny latte that I will decide I don't want on my way to the Oliver Spencer sample sale.'
Yep, I sound like a sad act. But I happen to live in London, where everyone is in a rush. An infectious rush. Time is everything, especially when queuing to pay for something that - let's face it - I could probably do without.
At the same time, I don't care that much if you call me lazy because I want to be able to save 30 seconds every time I buy something I don't need. Most people I have talked to about the benefits of Apple Pay have revelled in their own cynicism about it. Even iPhone users. One even said that I need "to get out more", simply because I am genuinely positive about using this NFC tech that, yes, I do realise requires the world's most ubiquitous gadget (an iPhone) to work, but saves time and makes life a little easier. Further still, it is also more secure than your average contactless payment card because it requires your finger print via touch input to work.
The fact of the matter is that I am now saving time whenever I pay for something that I would be paying for anyway, and it feels bloody satisfying. OK? And best of all, I no longer have to wait in that dreaded Oyster Card top-up queue at Angel station, a meandering line of the strangest selection of misfits London has to offer. Instead, I can hold my iPhone up at the ticket gate while it simultaneously blurts out my 90s R'n'B Spotify playlist to my ears through my noise-cancelling cans and pretend none of them exist.
I challenge any iPhone user who hasn't used it yet, and is cynical about Apple Pay, to give it a try and not see that it's a good thing. And if you're an Android user, then ... aww. I have even more sympathy for you now than I did before. You poor thing. µ
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