UK rolls out smartphone payments for public services

By on 07/05/2019 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Streamlined payments: UK service users will be able to submit service fees using Apple and Google’s smartphone apps (Image courtesy: Jan Vasek/Pixabay).

The UK government is rolling out Apple Pay and Google Pay on its online payments platform ‘Pay’, allowing citizens to pay for some of the public services accessible via its central website

The new payment method is being trialed for a handful of services initially, before being expanded to include a range of central government departments. There are further plans to widen the scheme to include local government, police and the NHS later this year.

Citizens accessing basic disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks; the global entry service (which enables UK citizens to get expedited entry to the US); the registered traveller service (allowing non-EU frequent visitors to enter the UK using E-gates); and the electronic visa waiver service (for people in the Middle East coming to the UK) will all now have the option of paying with a smartphone.

Paying via Pay

Apple and Google Pay allow the use of fingerprint and facial recognition technology through users’ phones. The government says paying in this way will be both more secure and more convenient for people.

Oliver Dowden, the Cabinet Office’s minister for implementation, said: “We’re focused on making access to government services as easy as possible. And introducing mobile payment to Pay will also make transactions more secure.”

The new payment service would reduce fraud and cut costs, he added.

Wirth while

Tlll Wirth, lead product manager of Pay, 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 Pay for users and hopefully make their experience online a lot easier.”

The government launched its online payments platform, Pay, in 2016, allowing people to pay for services with credit and debit cards. Since then the site has logged more than 2.9 million online transactions.

About Natalie Leal

Natalie is a freelance journalist whose work has been published by The Sun Online, The Guardian, Novara Media, Positive News, and Welfare Weekly, among others. She also writes reports and case studies on global business trends for behavioural insights agency, Canvas8. Prior to working as a journalist Natalie worked for the public sector in social services for several years. She switched careers in 2013 after winning a fully funded NCTJ in a national writing competition. She holds a Masters degree in social anthropology from Sussex University where she specialised in processes of social change and international conflict and reconciliation processes.

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