Barclays CEO Commits to March Apple Pay Launch

Barclays' inability to commit to support Apple Pay—something other U.K. banks have offered for months—may finally be coming to an end. CEO Ashok Vaswani told a bank customer in an email that Apple Pay support is on the way, and it'll be available by the end of March.

When Barclays customer Oli Foster-Burnell emailed Mr. Vaswani asking about Apple Pay support, he got a reply saying it's coming in the "next 60 to 75 days," which would put the launch somewhere between the middle and end of March.

Barclays finally commits to Apple Pay support in U.K.Barclays finally commits to Apple Pay support in U.K.

Apple Pay is an NFC-based mobile payment system that lets iPhone and Apple Watch owners complete credit card transactions without pulling out their wallet. Instead, they simply hold their device next to supported card readers to process the transaction. Unlike credit cards, Apple Pay doesn't hand off card numbers, so it's much more secure than the magnetic stripe swipe routine we've used for years.

Barclays previously said it would support Apple Pay, but before now wouldn't narrow down the time frame beyond early 2016. The bank also recently launched its own NFC-based payment system, which it may have wanted to push before letting its customers have Apple Pay.

Considering Barclays hasn't been clear about when it would get around to supporting Apple Pay, Mr. Vaswani's statement has to be a welcome surprise. That's still not a guarantee Apple Pay really will be available to Barclays customers by April, but it is a step in the right direction.

[Thanks to Engadget for the heads up]