Apple Pay support


#1728

Let’s take a look at the market and history of Apple Pay in Europe. Broadly, there are three different categories of issuers:

  • Banks that operate locally in EU-countries
  • Banks that operate in many or all EEA-counties
  • And a rogue example: Boon

1st category
Let’s pick Barclays as an Example. Barclays offers current accounts in the UK. If a Romanian resident is able to open a UK Barclays account, his card can be added to his iPhone for Apple Pay (when he changes the phone region temporarily to any country where Apple Pay is available.)

Important here is that the Bank itself decides if it wants to offer the account to the Romanian resident. Barclays has no market presence in Romania. But they can of course sell their products in the single market. Another example is KBC. KBC allowed it for German residents to open an account in Ireland. This way, German customer were able to use Apple Pay before it officially launched in Germany. But: please note that KBC does not „operate“ in Germany. They „just“ sell their banking services via the single market there.

For banks that fall into this category, it’s true that Apple Pay only relies on the country of issuance, the “home country” of the bank. If it’s a UK bank (or any other country where Apple Pay is availabe), the card will work independently from a customer’s legal residency.

2nd category
Now Banks that do operate in many EU countries. Like N26 or Revolut. Their banking apps are available in many localized app stores. N26 is a German bank. French customers get cards that are issued in Germany. They get a German IBAN as account number. When Apple Pay became available in France, French customers were able to add their cards while German customers weren’t. Apple probably made sure that N26 had the technical means to control this.

There was a case where a German customer tried to fool them: he changed his registered address to a French address. He then was able to use Apple Pay. When N26 found out that the French address wasn’t his residency, they cancelled his account due to a T&Cs violation. He made false statements about his residency.

For banks that fall into this category, it seems that Apple does demand restrictions. Users like to find ways around it, but the example Bunq also shows that the banks feel pressure to make sure that Apple Pay is only available to customers with residency in a country where Apple Pay is available. See N26, Bunq, and most likely Revolut.

3rd category
Boon is a weird one. Boon technically falls into category 2. Boon is a brand of a German bank (Wirecard) that also has banking licenses in other countries (like the UK). When Apple Pay became availabe in Ireland and France, there was a well documented workaround how customers from other countries could use Boon in their country despite Apple Pay being not available in their country of residence.

I believe Wirecard was clever here: they “outsourced” the country verification to Apple! When a German customer wanted to use Apple Pay with a French Boon account, he had to set up a French Apple ID. The boon app was not available in the German App Store at that time! But with a French Apple ID in the French store, the app was availabe for download. It wasn’t Wirecard’s responsibility anymore to do the ID check, it was Apple’s own responsibility. And the irony is that Apple does not verify Apple ID addresses as long as there’s no payment method added. And the Boon app is free. So Wirecard basically “fooled” Apple here. Technically, using a wrong address with Apple ID is probably a violation of Apple’s T&Cs, but that does not affect Wirecard. German customers were able to open French accounts with their German passports and addresses and they could use Apple Pay that way.

I assume that Apple wasn’t very happy about this. But also didn’t care enough (Boon is not that relevant) to do anything about it. But Apple did make sure that whenever a new partner bank onboarded after Boon that this was prevented.


Conclusion: Apple wants tight control over Apple Pay availability. And there is not one single mechanism taking care of this but individual agreements and technical implementations. It’s based on where and how and to what extend a partner bank operates.

Disclaimer: I am using “where Apple Pay is available” with the same meaning Apple is when it defines “countries and regions that support Apple Pay” (https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT207957).


#1729

@Frank, everything you say is very plausible and no doubt correct, but my point was purely about consumer perception when I wrote “Apple Pay is usually released based on the country of the card issuer. It would be reasonable and natural for typical consumers (as opposed to us in this thread) to believe, from Revolut’s unspecific public statements, that the same will apply to Revolut“ in criticism of Revolut’s ambiguous tweet.


#1730

Apple Pay will come to Revolut soon.


#1731

You should take into account that Boon was an early partner. They launched the Apple Pay version of their App in the UK before Apple Pay was even available anywhere else in Europe (May 2016). At the time international/global digital banking apps were virtually non-existent. This means that Apple probably didn’t even realize what they got themselves into and hence allowed Boon to just release different apps for different app stores with no residence checks on their own.

More recent partners like N26 probably have quite different contracts in place in which the responsibility is shifted to N26.


#1732

I don’t quite understand N26’s approach. Apple Pay is available in Poland. But Polish users still cannot add their cards to Apple Pay.

I’m afraid Revolut’s rollout will be similar like that.


#1733

Yes, sorry if that wasn’t clear. I believe that’s true.


#1734

Don’t even joke, please.


#1735

We are waiting so long for Apple Pay on Revolut because they want to get a licence for the whole EU & EEA area… thats the catch guys! hihihi :stuck_out_tongue:


#1736

I think it’s a combination of Apple requirements as well as different ways different companies look at it. N26 will give you Apple Pay only in countries where they support it and only if you have a passport of that country. Bunq will give you Apple Pay in those countries if you have address there. Boon. Couldn’t care less as long as you are from EEA. Monese will give you Apple Pay you only need to change region on your phone. Nordea In Denmark will give it to you as long as you meet requirements for opening a bank account (CPR, job and local address).


#1737

@TheTruth, you have to be joking. Discriminating by nationality is unlawful in most EEA countries. For example, in the UK where N26 offers accounts, this would breach Sections 9(1)(b) and 13 of the Equality Act 2010. Furthermore, I have yet to find a financial services firm that requires proof of identity in the form of a passport as opposed to an EEA national identity card.


#1738

It’s not about the nationality but about a registered address. There are other ways with N26 to proof residency than passports/ID cards.


#1739

If you go to N26 app settings you can see that shipping address can be whatever you want. Go back and go to personal settings and you see there is citizenship which was confirmed by scanning your passport or video ID call depending when you signed up. In the process you are issued a card with a bin that corresponds to you country in the passport.

So you can be living and working in Germany for example but if your passport is not German you are not gett apple pay.


#1740

@TheTruth - No, it’s based on your postal address, not on your nationality. They ask your nationality for other reasons.


#1741

To confirm @NFH’s statement I hold a German N26 Euro account with a postal address in Germany, however I hold a UK passport. I have Apple Pay.


#1742

Thats not true what are you talking.

With n26 its not matter your passport or where are you really living, its just important that your card is delivered to german adress and you are getting german n26 card with working Apple Pay. And thats 101% true. I am the one who is not from Germany, never been there and have working n26 german card and Apple Pay. But you need to have someone in Germany who will get your card and send it to you.


#1743

My address is in Munich and I can’t add it to Apple Pay. Why is that huh?


#1744

Because N26 supports Apple Pay in UK. If you were a Greek (N26 is available for them) living in Germany or Spain or any other country where n26 supports Apple Pay, then you wouldn’t be able to add it to Apple Pay no matter your address.


#1745

That literally makes no sense. There is only shipping address in the app which can be in south America as far as I know. Why does N26 app list your nationality if it is irrelevant? And why my French colleagues living in Germany are able to add it to Apple Pay and I;m not?


#1746

You should ask them. But I can tell you it’s not down to nationality. That would no doubt be unlawful.


#1747

You are probably violating N26 T&Cs.