Something to look forward to: UK citizens can look forward to an easier online payment experience as the government adds support for Apple Pay and Google Pay, allowing approval of transactions with fingerprints or facial recognition. Four services are supported initially with a wider roll out expected in the future.
The gov.uk website is now accepting mobile payments for a few services aimed primarily at traveling UK citizens. The roll out for Apple Pay and Google Pay support for official services online is an effort from the Ministry as part of a trial service that is expected to spread across other UK institutions later this year.
The services include Global Entry Service for expedited entry to the US, Registered Traveller Services for frequent travelers to the UK from non-EU countries, Electronic Visa Waiver Services for travelers from four Middle Eastern countries visiting the UK, and basic online disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks for people looking to work in certain job types.
"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," said Till Wirth, lead product manager of gov.uk Pay. "This innovation will increase the convenience and security of gov.uk Pay for users and hopefully make their experience online a lot easier," he added.
The UK saw the arrival of mobile payments in 2015 with Apple Pay supported by eight participating banks enabling users to securely store bank details on their devices and pay instantly. Governments globally are usually cautious with adopting new technologies in their infrastructure but this development is likely to be welcomed by Brits and encourage other governments to follow suit.
Highlighting this capability, Oliver Dowden, the minister for implementation said: "We're focused on making access to Government services as easy as possible. And introduce mobile payment to gov.uk Pay will also make transactions more secure" in what enables them in "working smarter as a Government - improving services for people as well as reducing fraud and costs."
The ministry further plans to integrate this facility with local government, police and the National Health Service later his year.