Sunday, 3 January 2016

Barclays Apple Pay update for the UK

Happy new year everyone. As you may read I previously wrote to the Ashok Vaswani of Barclays UK (read the last post) and was given a date of 'Early next year' well that is now upon us and so I followed up his email and politely asked for an update.

To my amazement the man himself replied back 10 minutes later. I now feel a little guilty for disturbing his Sunday off before returning to work but here is how it went...
Hi Ashok,
Happy new year to you and many thanks for your previous reply to me. I wonder if you would be willing to share an update with me as it is technically now early in the new year.
A few moments ago I received the following reply:
Happy New Year !!
Don't have a further specific update. First day at work is tomorrow. Working thru systems etc - will keep you posted

Now although most people are feeling a little frustrated with Barclays I would like to think they are busy getting this up and running for an imminent launch. I guess we will soon see!

I was all prepared to ditch Barclays after this but I am actually quite chuffed to have such a personal response from someone at an executive level. I just hope they deliver soon!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Barclays to bring Apple Pay to the UK in the new year

Ok so I've been creating a bit of a fuss over this, but after writing to the CEO of Barclays Retail Banking in the UK, Ashok Vaswani, I got quite a swift reply back confirming their plans to launch in the new year.

I wrote a previous post about my frustrations with Barclays over their ignorance for choosing not to be part of Apple Pay. The only response from Barclays on this has been the following:
We’re working through the detail of implementation and will make an announcement on timing in due course
This has been the response from them over the past couple of months and as you can imagine is beginning to sound long in the tooth and many customers have had enough and are switching to rival banks.

I originally wrote to Ashok this morning in an email:
I am writing to you to complain about the complete lack of attention and care you have paid to your customers over the Apple Pay situation you seem to be ignoring. 
You only have to look at comments on your social media output to see that most customers want Apple Pay and are prepared to switch banks for it. Why don't you just get on the Apple Pay train before you get left behind?
 Just now I received a reply:
We have signed up for ApplePay and will launch it very early in the New Year. We truly value your custom and hope that you continue to bank with us particularly since we are launching this shortly.
So it's quite clear the rumours of the 'imminent' arrival are not quite accurate and it would appear customers wanting Apple Pay will either have to sit it out for a few (many?) months or switch banks.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Barclays and their lack of support for Apple Pay

One of the great features of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch is Apple Pay. The ability to pay for stuff using your watch or phone, 2 things which you are going to have on you almost all the time.

I was quite excited over this especially as here in the UK we have had to wait almost a year since they got it over the Atlantic.

Then imagine after all that excitement you find out that the bank you have banked with for over 25 years, one of the biggest banks in the UK, doesn't support it. Not only that but they are pretty much the ONLY bank now in the UK not to support it.

Instead they want to push their own product called bPay. It's basically a sticker, or a key fob, or a wrist band... that you pay for. Let's get this straight Barclays... No one is going to want any of these things. Why it that?

  • I don't want an extra thing on my bunch of keys. I hate having to find my keys and the thought of trying to find them when I want to travel on the underground would drive me nuts.
  • I don't want to wear a wrist band. I have a watch. It tells me the time. It does a whole bunch of other clever stuff that your wrist band doesn't. Does your wrist band tell the time? No.
  • The idea of sticking something on my shiny aluminium smart phone is also a joke. Especially when if I lose it or it gets stolen, they don't need to approve payments using their fingerprints. It's totally insecure. Let's face it the risk of my phone being stolen is probably higher than me having my wallet stolen.
Don't even get me started on the thought of clothing with build in contactless. I have a phone that can do it (if you bloody enable it).

So what's the hold up? Technical implementation / system issues? No. It's all in place and is all managed by Visa / Mastercard etc. All you have to do is agree on the marketing / sales stuff.

Why you can't just give people the right to choose what form of payment they want to use. I don't want to have to switch banks after being with you with for so long but I probably will if you don't announce something soon.

I'm also not the only one to think so. Have a look through Twitter and there are endless tweets from people complaining about it. That's right Barclays, they are your customers and you are not listening to them:

In fact just about every promotional bit of social media you post just gets replied by people complaining about your lack of support for Apple Pay.

Take. A. Hint.

An open letter to Vodafone and Apple about my iPhone

Dear Apple / Vodafone,

So on Friday I took delivery of my new iPhone 6S Plus 128Gb. Great!

Or it was until it broke the next day. It would appear that the backlight is screwed causing half of the display to be darker than the rest. Rather annoying considering I had just spent my Friday night restoring my iPhone from a backup and getting all my accounts setup. Anyone who has lots of stuff on their phone knows how much effort is required to swap over to a new handset.

I thought, being an Apple device I would attempt to call them to see what could be done. Filled out a form on the website and someone called me back within 1 minute! I spoke to them and they decided the best cause of action was to take it to my local store for an exchange. I did check with them about the fact it came from Vodafone and they (apparently) spoke with the local (Watford) store tech team and they said that was fine and I could pop in without appointment. Happy with that resolution I set of to Watford to get my phone exchanged.

On arrival to Watford Apple Store I am told to join a queue for the Genius Bar. I told them I didn't have an appointment so straight up they then said they wouldn't be able to help me. On speaking with the manager he says that no one in his store would have told Apple technical support that I would be able to sort it out without an appointment. After arguing my point with him for 10 minutes I gave in. I find it madness how someone can walk in off the street and spend an hour with a sales person to buy a new phone but anyone who already has pre-ordered and been delivered a faulty one can't get an immediate resolution.

Next up I thought I'd try Vodafone. Called them and they said a replacement handset would be sent out on Monday for a Tuesday delivery. Now if after spending Friday waiting at home for a new phone wasn't bad enough (I do actually have a job to do) the last thing I need was to take another day off to get another phone. I did enquire as to a store delivery / swap and they said it wasn't possible. In fact the guy I spoke to was not offering much help here. Take another day off I must then if I want my phone sorted!

I woke this morning and the first thing I did was move my appointments tomorrow so I could work from home. After which I then set off for another appointment this morning. On the way there I get a delivery notification for DPD saying my delivery would be Wednesday instead. What!?! Are you kidding me? Even the address was wrong! 2 Minutes later however I get another email with the correct address and again says Tuesday. Then 5 minutes later I get one saying my delivery will be today between 2:30 & 3:30!!! What!?

I then cancel my afternoon's meeting to head home and receive my phone. I get there to find the DPD driver on my doorstep. Huh? It's only 12pm!! I rush to erase the faulty phone and give it to him. He disappears saying I don't need to sign for anything and hands me a package with the new phone. Oh well I think at least I have the new phone at last and can get back to normal. I open the box to find ..... THE WRONG HANDSET!!! You've sent me a 6S and NOT a 6S Plus. Great. Another hour on the phone to Vodafone. After being bounced around the call centre explaining my situation 3 times over I eventually get through to someone who tells me that they are out of stock of the handset I ordered and didn't know when I'd get a replacement.

Even if I can off my contract / upgrade and buy it outright trying to secure a new phone is not easy. I understand the supply / demand issue but surely you need to make it easier for those in the situation where you've supplied a faulty one to get a replacement faster.

So you see Apple / Vodafone.... I got in there early to pre-order a phone, I had a phone, it was broken and now quite frankly no one could give a damn.

So thanks for that. Really.