Digital-only UK “challenger” bank, Starling Bank, has added support for Apple Pay — meaning its customers can now add their Starling debit card to their Apple Wallet and make contactless payments drawing from funds in their Starling account via their Apple devices.
The fintech startup launched a beta for its own app back in March so it’s been pretty quick to add support for Apple’s contactless payment tech — and is lauding itself as the first of the fintech banks to do so. (Although, also today, two European fintech startups are announcing Apple Pay support in some markets.)
Multiple UK banks and building societies already support Apple Pay, including the major high street banks. Although Starling says it will be the first bank in the UK to offer in-app provisioning for Apple Pay users which means that new Starling customers will be able to load their card into their digital wallet virtually, before the physical MasterCard debit card arrives in the post.
Apple pay is accepted as a method of payment by “hundreds of thousands” of retail locations in the UK, according to Apple. Back in May, the company also suggested a majority of UK POS terminals were now able to support higher value contactless payments via the tech (those that don’t support unlimited payments have a cap of £30).
Aside from offering contactless payments with a layer of biometric security, Apple is pushing the privacy angle to drive uptake of its payment tech, noting on its website that “your card details are never shared by Apple when you use Apple Pay, making purchases with your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac is the safer, more private way to pay”.
That’s especially interesting when you consider Google’s stated intent, earlier this year, to track credit and debit card spending to further profile web users for ad targeting purposes.
Another ad targeting giant, Facebook, also buys up large amounts of third party data relating to users’ offline lives in a bid to expand its ability to profile people.
Apple Pay shields users’ credit or debit card numbers from this type of tracking because the numbers are not stored on a user’s device nor on Apple’s servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on the device, with each transaction authorized via a one-time unique dynamic security code.