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Apple Pay and Google Pay join GOV.UK Pay

04/05/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

A handful of central government services running on GOV.UK have begun to take payments through Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Ilustration of smartphone and part of GOV.UK Pay screen

They are doing so as part of a trial to prepare for their wider use, which is aimed at providing more options.

Under the trial the Apple and Google mechanisms have been added to the list of payment channels – along with credit and debit cards – that work within GOV.UK.

It involves four services:

  • The Global Entry Service, which enables UK citizens to obtain expedited entry to the US.

  • Online basic Disclosure and Barring Service checks, carried out before people are allowed to work in certain sectors, often involving vulnerable people.

  • The Registered Traveller Service for frequent visitors from non-EU countries to use e-gates at UK borders.

  • The Electronic Visa Waiver Service, allowing people from selected Middle East countries to travel more easily to the UK.

The Cabinet Office said that following the trial it is planned to make Apple Pay and Google Pay available for other central government services, followed by local government, police and the NHS later this year.

Lead product manager for GOV.UK Pay Till Wirth said: “Allowing people to pay for government services through Apple Pay and Google Pay means they won’t have to enter their credit or debit card information when making payments.

“This innovation will increase the convenience and security of GOV.UK Pay for users and hopefully make their experience online a lot easier.”

The move effectively brings the use of fingerprint identification into the platform – it is an authentication option for both mechanisms – and facial recognition, although this only applies for more up-to-date phones running on Apple’s iOS operating system.

The Cabinet Office said that GOV.UK Pay has been used for more than 2.9 million transactions since it was launched in 2016.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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