Danske Bank has over 300,000 debit and credit cards being actively used across Northern Ireland and OFCOM’s most recent Communications Market Report showed that seven in ten adults (72%) in Northern Ireland now own a smartphone. Apple said in May that Apple Pay transactions in the UK had grown by nearly 300 per cent over the past year. In Northern Ireland, two of the main traditional local banks will now be offering it - Danske Bank and Ulster Bank.

Thanks to Touch ID on iPhone and double clicking on Apple Watch, Apple Pay transactions in stores are faster and more secure than chip and PIN payments, benefiting both customers and retailers.

Security and privacy is at the core of Apple Pay. When you use a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code.

Richard Caldwell, Managing Director of Personal Banking and Small Business at Danske Bank, reflected:

"There has been a clear demand from customers for us to integrate Apple Pay, and I am delighted that we are now offering it. It is a great addition to our already strong online offering and will further improve customer experience."

Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of Retail NI, said:

"Lots of consumers here like to pay for goods or services via contactless technology and most of our members are actively embracing the ever-changing digital payment landscape."

Orla Smyth, owner of the Kaffe O coffee shops in Belfast, welcomed the announcement saying:

"It offers a convenient and efficient way for customers to pay - which we welcome as often our customers are under time pressure. People bring their smart phones with them everywhere, so Apple Pay is an easy concept to grasp. I expect that we will see a lot more people paying for their coffees and lunches using Apple Pay now that Danske Bank is supporting it."