If you’re using an iPhone, Apple Pay is the easiest way to get started with contactless payments. The digital wallet service is not only free to use, but it is already built into your phone.
Apple Pay works by allowing you to add a digital version of a debit or credit card to the Wallet app. Once you’re set up, you can use Apple Pay to buy things online, in apps, and in person without having to carry your physical credit cards, cash, or a separate wallet. You can also use Apple Pay to send money to friends and family through the Messages app. In some cities, you can even use Apple Pay to replace a public transit pass.
In general, Apple will guide you through setting up Apple Pay when you first start up a new gadget. But if for some reason you haven’t, here’s everything you need to know to get started, as well as some tips on how to use it.
Set up Apple Pay
Whatever device you set up, the first step is to always check if your device is compatible. For iPhones, that is any model with Touch ID or Face ID, with the exception of the iPhone 5S. You can also use Apple Pay on select iPads with Touch ID or Face ID and all Apple Watches since Series 1. Mac models with Touch ID may also support Apple Pay. In any case, you can check if your specific device is eligible here†
The next thing you need is a supported credit or debit card and an Apple ID signed into iCloud. If you’re not signed in to your Apple ID, you may be prompted to sign in during the setup process.
On an iPhone
To add a map to your iPhone:
- Open the Wallet app.
- Tap the + button.
- below Available cardsselect Debit or credit card†
- Tap Get on†
- From here you can take a picture of your physical card or enter your card details manually.
- Check your card details.
- Tap Agree on the Requirements†
- Select whether you want the added card to be your default card.
- If you have an Apple Watch, you will now be prompted to add your card to the device. You can also do this later.
Once you’ve done this on the iPhone, it becomes much easier to add the same cards across all your Apple devices. That’s why we recommend adding your maps to the iPhone first.
On an Apple Watch
To use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, first make sure you have a passcode enabled. This is a mandatory requirement – otherwise you will not be able to use Apple Pay on the Watch.
To add a card to the Apple Watch:
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
- Press on the My watch tab.
- Scroll down to Wallet and Apple Pay†
- From here you can follow the same steps as above.
- If you’ve added maps to your iPhone before, you should see them below Other maps on your iPhone† Press Add next to each card to add it to your watch.
- Check your card details and you’re done!
On an iPad or Mac
On iPad and Mac, Apple Pay lets you buy things online and in apps, and send money through the Messages app.
To set up Apple Pay on an iPad or Mac:
- Go to Settings (iPad) or System Preferences (Mac).
- Select Wallet and Apple Pay†
- Select Add a card†
- From here, every Previous cards are displayed under Available Maps.
- Select which cards you want to add.
- Tap Get on†
- Check your card details and you’re done!
Using Apple Pay
Before you pull out your phone to pay, take a moment to get your settings in order. If you have more than one card in the Wallet app, please take a moment to specify what your default card is. To send and receive money in the Messages app, you must also enable the Apple Cash card.
Apple also requires some sort of two-factor authentication by default when using Apple Pay – so you’ll need to enable a passcode on the Watch or have a device that supports Touch or Face ID. But if you want to get around that, you can also designate an Express Transit Card.
To access these options, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay on iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad. On Mac, go to System Preferences > Wallet & Apple Pay†
There are multiple ways to use Apple Pay, but most people will probably use the service on their iPhone or Apple Watch. As long as you see it these symbols wherever you want to use Apple Pay, you’re good to go.
Pay with an iPhone or Apple Watch
To pay with an iPhone with Face ID, double click the side button† You will then see the default card appear and the phone will attempt to authenticate you with Face ID. If not, you may be prompted to enter your passcode. The process is the same with Touch ID phones, except you authenticate by placing your finger on the Touch ID button.
On the Apple Watch, you can also double-click the side button to open your designated card. Once that’s done, you can hold your phone or watch over the contactless payment reader.
If you want to buy something in an app or from a website in Safari, all you need to do is click the Apple Pay button at checkout. From there, you will be prompted to verify your identity via Touch ID or Face ID, depending on the device. Once that’s done, check which card you want to use and what your payment details are.
Send money with Messages
To send money through the Messages app, you – and whoever you do business with – must be in the US and have the Apple Cash card enabled. You can do this on your iPhone by going to . to go Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Apple Cash† Once that’s done, you can link your bank account to fund the card. You can also transfer any balance that you have on the card back to your bank.
Once Apple Cash is set up, all you need to do is tap the Apple Pay or Apple Cash icon in an individual iMessage conversation. From there, you will be prompted to enter an amount and then you can request or send a payment.
That’s all that’s really going on. Happy shopping.
Photography by Victoria Song / The Verge