Barclays is reportedly informing customers that it is planning to post an update to its U.K. website and through Twitter to indicate when it will support Apple Pay.
While this message has yet to appear, news began circulating Jan. 28 that a Barclays customer named Oli Foster-Burnell had received an email from Barclays CEO Ashok Vaswani confirming the bank would launch Apple Pay acceptance in late March.
Though Barclays has developed so much of its own mobile payment technology and devices, it had informed customers that it was working hard to make Apple Pay available to its customers with iPhone 6 or Apple Watch products.
Foster-Burnell posted an image of the Vaswani email, dated Jan. 12, to Twitter on Jan. 25. The quoted email informs the customer that Barclays will launch Apple Pay "within the next 60 to 75 days."
— Oli Foster-Burnell (@orfoster) January 25, 2016
Barclays did not respond to PaymentsSource inquiries to confirm the Apple Pay timetable in the U.K. suggested in the e-mail exchange with the Barclays customer.
When Apple Pay launched in the U.K. last July, Natwest, Nationwide, RBS, HSBC and Santander were quick to support it, while Halifax and Lloyds came on board a few months later.
But Barclays was missing from that mix, meaning the largest issuer and acquirer in the country was not in any rush to support Apple's mobile wallet.
“Barclays is a major financial institution and a strong advocate of mobile payments in the U.K.,” said Zil Bareisis, a London-based industry analyst for Celent. “Of course, it is important for Apple Pay to have its support.”
Barclays, in the meantime, has been consistent in building out its bPay line of products, which compete with Apple Pay as alternative Near Field Communication-based payment instruments. The bPay line includes wristbands and stickers; the issuer has also experimented with gloves, jackets and other items.
Though the ups and downs of Apple Pay's first year and a half since its U.S. launch are well-documented, there is little doubt that Barclays sees value in contactless mobile payments. Two weeks ago, Barclays announced its Barclaycard app would allow NFC contactless payments on Android phones.