Neither HSBC, First Direct or Apple are talking about this system breaking issue. An issue that at worst presents a security risk, and at best makes it almost impossible for you to add a Card to Apple Pay UK. Which is why we’re bringing it to your attention. You heard it here first!
Major HSBC and first direct Apple Pay Issue
You were excited. And rightfully so. HSBC / first direct finally jumped on the Apple Pay UK bandwagon and allowed customers with cards to add them to their mobile wallet platform: Passbook. And as UK Card holders, both our Co-Founders were just as elated as you were. So they were quick to test it out. Which is when they stumbled upon this major HSBC / first direct Apple Pay issue.
You see, both our Co-Founders have UK HSBC / first direct accounts. Both have already successfully added other UK cards to Passbook. No problem. But for some reason, these PassKiteers were prevented when it came to HSBC/ first direct. Their phones would simply not let them add their card. You might have also experienced the same problem. Thankfully, they were not easily swayed. Having both worked in the banking sector, and built a successful mobile wallet marketing company, they probed the issue. And what they found out is beyond belief.
You Can’t Add HSBC /first direct Cards If You’re Outside The UK
Whether you’re away for a short business trip, a long holiday, or a new life abroad, HSBC / first direct won’t let you add your UK Bank Card to Apple Pay. And not even Apple knows why. Trust us. We contacted them. After spending a few hours on the phone with HSBC / first direct, talking to supervisor after supervisor, team after team, we were finally told “it’s a problem with the app [Passbook]” and referred to Apple Customer Support. And it’s where that conversation led that’s truly interesting.
You can find out what the issues are at the end of this article, but first you’ll want to know what we did to bypass them. From the beginning, here’s what happened (with images):
We added the HSBC / first direct Card details to Apple Pay UK
As expected, we were provided with the Apple Pay UK Terms and Conditions page
We accepted them
Apple began to add the card
We were denied. And told to contact the UK Card provider – HSBC / First Direct.
And so we contacted HSBC / first direct. Spoke to several supervisors. Several teams. For several hours. Until we finally got an Apple number. Apple said there was nothing wrong on their side that they could see. We eliminated WiFi and 4G trouble and even went as far as to reset the network settings. Beyond that, they had no further suggestions on how to solve the issues. Back to square one. Which is why we decided to play detective.
Being British, we were instantly inspired by Sherlock Holmes, who said “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”. After a few hours of contemplating the impossible (Apple Pay service issues, HSBC’s lack of customer support, Aliens) we were left with three improbabilities.
- Our iTunes account was registered in Hong Kong.
- We were not in the UK. Both co-founders were in Hong Kong. The iPhone knew this as it tracked location data.
- The phone’s IP address was not of UK origin. Again, we were in Hong Kong.
We instantly ruled out improbability number 1 as we had already added a UK MBNA Card to Apple’s Passbook. So it could only be the other two. And the result of testing (across several iPhones) was astounding. Here’s the two simple steps we completed to get HSBC / first direct Cards into a UK Apple Pay account from outside the UK.
We turned off our Apple location services
We selected a UK VPN
For some unknown reason HSBC / first direct are adding an unnecessary step to Apple Pay UK that prevents anyone outside of the UK from adding cards. Someone high up (or possible very low, by mistake) has decided to add a system breaking step to Apple Pay UK and Passbook card authentication that wont let you add anything unless you are in the UK. Which is unlike every other bank in the UK working with Apple Pay. And you can trust us again on that as we easily added an MBNA Card earlier in the week.
WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS HSBC APPLE PAY UK ISSUE?
We can’t be the only ones unable to do this. There must be others. Has it happened to you? All we do know for sure is that for us, getting a card in while outside of the UK is a pain – but still possible. The issue is both the Banks and Apple blamed each other, claiming the problem was on the other’s side. They were unable to help We found out on our own. And we think you need to know.
Which is why we’re giving you these three steps to follow:
- Turn off location services
- Set you region to the UK
- Get a UK VPN on your Phone and use that
WHY SHOULD ANYONE, ESPECIALLY HSBC / first direct CARE?
No. of British living outside of the UK: Australia 1,062,000, USA 829,000, Spain 808,000, Canada 608,000, Ireland 289,000, France 253,000, New Zealand 248,000, South Africa 219,000, Germany 97,000, UAE 65,000. Not to mention that it’s also the peak of the holiday season.
After that fiasco, we feel like true Holmesians. And so we shall leave you (and hopefully Apple and HSBC / first direct if they are reading this) with one of his most relevant quotes:
“It is better to learn wisdom late, than never at all” – Sherlock Holmes
Let us know below if you have the same or similar issues.