The government launched its online payment platform GOV.UK Pay for services with credit and debit cards in 2016, and so far more than 2.9 million transactions have been made.
To make the system even easier to use, Enforcement Minister Oliver Dowden announced that the government will now allow payments with mobile phones via Apple Pay and Google Pay. He said:
We strive to make access to government services as easy as possible. And the introduction of mobile payment on GOV.UK Pay will also make transactions more secure.
It’s another example of how we work smarter as a government – improving services to people as well as reducing fraud and costs.
A first trial of four paid government services via Apple Pay and Google Pay has already been launched.
The services participating in the initial trial are:
- the Global Entry Service – which allows British citizens to gain expedited entry into the United States
- online basic DBS checks – these are done before people are allowed to work in certain sectors
- the Registered Traveler service – which makes it easier for frequent visitors from non-EU countries to enter the UK using modern electronic gates at the border
- the Electronic Visa Waiver Service – which makes it easier for people from four Middle Eastern countries to travel to the UK
After the initial trial, there are plans to expand mobile payments to other central government departments and later this year to make them available to local government, police and NHS organisations.
In addition to being more convenient, these innovative payment methods will also be more secure, as they allow the use of fingerprint and face recognition technology through users’ phones.
Till Wirth, Senior Product Manager for GOV.UK 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 GOV.UK Pay for users and hopefully make their online experience much easier.