Credit and debit cards have become ubiquitous whether you’re shopping online or at the neighborhood bodega. If you use a credit or debit card for purchases, Apple Pay may be the perfect solution. Apple Pay lets you store frequently-used credit, debit, and rewards cards on your favorite Apple mobile device. If you’re new to Apple Pay or have questions about the service, here’s the lowdown on how to set up and use Apple Pay for purchases online and in-store.
Apple Pay’s wide-ranging support
Apple Pay works on most devices — from iPhone models like the first generation iPhone SE (2016) to the entire iPhone 12 range and all Apple Watches. Apple Pay support spans recent iPads, including the current generation down to the fifth-generation iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 3 and 4, and the iPad Air 2. As for Macs, if your computer is capable of running MacOS Sierra or later, you’re good to go.
Apple Pay is supported by most U.S.-based financial institutions and credit card companies. Apple provides an up-to-date list of all financial institutions that accept Apple Pay.
Apple Pay is supported by hundreds of brands and websites, including 7-Eleven, GameStop, Etsy, Staples, and Fandango, with more being added all the time. You can find the current list of supported retailers here, or visit our exhaustive list of companies that accept Apple Pay here. Many third-party apps also allow you to use Apple Pay. You can check out some of them here. Of course, if you buy apps or other digital items from Apple, you can always use Apple Pay to purchase music, movies, apps, books, and more.
How to set up Apple Pay
How to add cards to iPhone and iPad
You can add eight cards to Apple Pay across your various supported devices. If you want to use Apple Pay with more than one device, you need to add your card information separately to each device.
- On your iPhone, open the Wallet app. On your iPad, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay. Tap the Plus Sign and then Continue to start adding your credit or debit card to Apple Pay. Next, tap Add Credit or Debit Card.
- To add the card, position your card in the frame. The app automatically scans the front of your card to get your number and records it on the card details page. Tap Next.
- Use the scroll wheel to record your card’s expiration date, and type in the security code.
- Tap Next.
- The Adding Card screen appears as Apple Pay communicates with your bank to verify your card. When it’s done, you get a Terms and Conditions page where you have to agree.
- The Adding Card page and a Card Verification page appear in succession, showing your email address and phone number.
- You have a choice of verifying your card by phone or completing verification later. If you do so immediately, you’ll get a verification code via email to input. You may be prompted to contact your bank to complete the verification process. Once verification is complete, tap Next, and you’re all set to use Apple Pay.
- A set of instructions appears explaining how to use Apple Pay with card readers. Tap Continue.
- You can continue to add your card to your Apple Watch by tapping Add Now. If you don’t want to add an Apple Watch, tap Done.
Verification may involve a short call to your bank and a conversation with a human, which will come up in the app. It took less than five minutes to place my debit card in Apple Pay and on my watch. A notice will appear on your watch once the verification is confirmed.
How to add cards to your Mac
To add a card to Apple Pay on your Mac, you’ll need a Mac with Touch ID. However, on models without built-in Touch ID, you can still use Apple Pay via a linked iPhone. Here’s how: On your iPhone, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Allow Payments on Mac, and toggle the control on.
How to add cards to your Mac with Touch ID
- Go to System Preferences > Wallet & Apple Pay > Add Card.
- Follow the steps to add a new card. If you’re asked to add the card that you use with your Apple ID, enter its security code.
- Tap Next. Your bank or card issuer will verify your information and decide if you can add your card to Apple Pay. If your bank or issuer needs more information to verify your card, they’ll ask for it. When you have the information, go back to System Preferences > Wallet & Apple Pay, and tap your card.
- After your bank or issuer verifies your card, tap Next. After that, you can start using Apple Pay.
How to add cards to Apple Watch
- To add a card to your Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone. Go to the My Watch tab and select the watch you’re going to use with Apple Pay. Tap Wallet & Apple Pay > Add Card.
- You may be asked to set up a passcode, or if you already have done so, type it in. You can opt for a simple four-digit passcode, or you can choose to unlock the watch with your iPhone as long as you are wearing it. An Erase Data toggle wipes your watch after 10 false passcode tries. Wrist Detection locks your watch when you’re not wearing it to secure your data.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to add your card, or enter the security code associated with the card you already use with iTunes. Adding a new card to your watch is essentially the same as the steps outlined above for your iPhone. The app stores your card number and asks for the expiration date and security code.
- Tap Next and your information will be verified. You’ll be asked to approve Terms and Conditions. Tap Agree.
- The Card Verification sheet appears, and you can dial your bank to complete the process or complete the verification later.
- In some cases, your bank may need more information. To verify, check Call Bank and tap Next. Or your bank may automatically verify your account and send you a verification code to enter immediately.
- After your information is verified, tap Next once again to finish the setup process. You’ll get a notice that your card is now ready for use on your watch.
How to use rewards cards
You can also add various rewards cards to the Wallet app to use with Apple Pay. Instead of choosing Add Credit or Debit Card, you want to add it as one of your Passes instead. To add a voucher, open the Wallet app, scroll down, and tap Edit Passes. From there, tap either Scan Code or Find Apps for Wallet, depending on the voucher involved.
Once added, you can have it appear automatically in a store by opening the Wallet app, tapping the Card and the More icon, and turning on Automatic Selection.
If you have any issues adding a card to any of your devices, try restarting your device. Then, make sure it’s running the latest version of iOS, WatchOS, or MacOS. Also consider removing the card, then adding it again.
How to use Apple Pay in apps
A growing number of apps accept Apple Pay. You will know if you can use the service when you see the button while checking out or when Apple Pay is one of the optional payment methods.
- To pay, tap whichever button appears within checkout, or simply select Apple Pay as your preferred checkout method.
- If you want to pay with a different card, just tap the Right Arrow (>) icon next to your default card.
- On your iPhone or iPad, rest your finger on Touch ID to confirm the payment, or double-click the side button to use Face ID (depending on your model). On the Apple Watch, double-click the side button. When the payment process is complete, you will see the same Done confirmation and a check mark.
How to use Apple Pay in stores
It’s easy to spot retailers that accept Apple Pay. Apple Pay-friendly stores have a logo on the door or at the register near the contactless reader. To use Apple Pay in stores, you need to have your iPhone or Apple Watch available. You can pay with your passcode if you don’t have Touch ID or Face ID set up.
- If you have an iPhone with Touch ID, place your finger on the Touch ID scanner and hold the phone within one inch of the reader until you see Done and a check mark. To use a different card, tap the default card when it appears before you authenticate with Face ID.
- For iPhone X and later models with Face ID, double-tap the side button and glance at your phone. Hold your phone close to the contactless reader until you see Done and a check mark. To use a different card, hold your phone near the reader. When your card appears, you can tap it to swap with another card in your wallet.
- To pay using your Apple Watch, double-click the side button and hold the watch near the reader until you see the word Done and the check mark. To change cards on the Apple Watch, double-click the side button before holding it near the reader. When your default card appears, swipe left or right to change cards. Hold your watch near the reader to complete your payment.
If you’re prompted to choose between credit or debit, choose credit. If you’re asked for the last four digits on the card, use your Device Account Number instead. To find this on your iPhone, open the Wallet app, tap your card, and then tap the More button. For the Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap Wallet & Apple Pay > Your Card.
How to use Apple Pay in Safari
Using Apple Pay in Safari might be easy, but you still need an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac that supports the feature. It might take some digging to determine whether your device works with Apple Pay, especially with older models.
Make a payment using an iPhone, iPad, or a MacBook with Touch ID
- Tap the Apple Pay or the Buy With Apple Pay button.
- Double-check your billing, shipping, and other information. To use a different card on an iPhone or iPad, tap the Right Arrow (>) symbol next to the selected card. To use a different payment option on the MacBook, press the Up or Down Arrows next to the current number.
- When you’re ready to confirm your purchase and pay: On iPhone and iPad, rest your finger on the Touch ID Sensor. If payment is accepted, you will see “Done” and a check mark. On the MacBook, you will need to follow a series of steps on the Touch Bar. Rest your finger on the Touch ID Sensor, as you would normally on an iOS device. If Touch ID is disabled, tap the Apple Pay icon, and you can take steps to enable the feature. When your payment is complete, you will see a confirmation message and a check mark.
Make a payment using a MacBook without Touch ID
If your MacBook doesn’t have Touch ID, the process for using Apple Pay is almost exactly the same. Using it on a MacBook without Touch ID requires a few extra steps, but nothing too difficult. If your Mac doesn’t have Touch ID, follow these steps to pay:
- Sign in to the iCloud account that you use on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.
- Enable your Mac’s Bluetooth capability. Using Bluetooth allows your Mac to find your iOS device or Apple Watch so that you can use any credit or debit card added to those devices.
- Tap the Buy with Apple Pay or Apple Pay button, just as you would with any device you purchase from.
- To make a payment, place your finger on your iPhone’s Touch ID Sensor or double-click the Side Button for Face ID (depending on the iPhone model). If you’re using an Apple Watch, double-click the Side Button. A check mark along with a confirmation message will appear, signaling that your transaction is complete.
While some users may experience a small learning curve with Apple Pay, overall the interface is intuitive and straightforward – not to mention convenient. Some devices will require an update to use Apple Pay, but the extra legwork is worth it in the long run for the added security and efficiency.
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