Apple Pay

Make tap-and-go payments using your iPhone or Apple Watch.

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Contactless payments are nothing new. Most credit cards support tap and go payments, whether it’s using Visa’s underlying payWave infrastructure or Mastercard’s PayPass.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is a digital wallet that securely stores your debit or credit card information within the app. Apple Pay replaces your physical debit card, meaning you can go out with just your phone and still make purchases. You can use the app to make contactless payments in store and online using just your iPhone or Apple device, such as an Apple Watch.

How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay works as a contactless payment, except instead of digging your credit card out of your wallet and tapping it on the terminal, you tap your iPhone or Apple Watch. Your fingerprint or a secure code is used to verify each purchase made from your chosen bank account or credit card.

To get a bit more technical, Apple Pay uses a near field communication (NFC) chip within your smartphone or Apple device to connect to a card reader. This chip communicates with the card reader and enables the payment to be processed in the same way that a debit card works. This process all happens within seconds of tapping your smartphone or Apple device to the reader.


Is Apple Pay secure?

Yes. Apple Pay uses a number specific to your device in combination with a unique transaction code when you make a purchase. This means that your debit card details, such as the card number and expiration date, aren’t actually stored on your device or by Apple. Plus, you need to use Touch ID or enter a PIN number each time you make a payment with Apple Pay.

In many ways, it’s actually safer than using your physical debit card to make purchases. You can easily misplace your debit card or leave it visible for people to copy the card number. However most people need to enter a PIN number to unlock their smartphone, or even require their own fingerprint to unlock their phone. On top of this, you’re required to use Touch ID, Face ID or enter a PIN when making a payment.


What do I need to use Apple Pay?

To access Apple Pay you need an iOS device with Apple Pay compatibility. That’s includes the iPhone 6 and any iPhone that came after it, the 5th generation or newer iPad, iPad Mini 3 or any newer iPad Mini, iPad Air 2 or any newer iPad Air, any iPad Pro or any Apple Watch.

You don’t have to update your iOS installation on your iPhone every time there’s a new update, but if you’re on an older iPhone device with a much older iOS variant, you may have to update to access Apple Pay. Once you’ve passed that hardware hurdle, you need a financial institution that supports Apple Pay in America.

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Where to use Apple Pay

You can use Apple Pay in-store almost anywhere, from cafes and restaurants to retail shops, grocery chains and service stations. Apple Pay works on any terminal that already accepts contactless, tap-and-go payments.

You can also use Apple Pay to pay for things online and within a range of apps. For example, if you’re ordering Friday-night takeaway on a food delivery app you can simply select “Buy with Apple Pay” to complete the transaction instead of manually entering your card details. The app or website will tell you when you’re making the purchase if it supports Apple Pay.

How to set up Apple Pay

Setting up Apple Pay is much easier than you’d think. You just need to follow these two simple steps:

  1. Ensure you have an eligible device and debit card. To set up Apple Pay, you’ll first need to make sure you have an eligible phone from the list above as well as an eligible debit card from a participating bank.
  2. Add your card. Navigate to Wallet within your iPhone and click the blue plus sign to add a new card. Add in your card security details, and your bank will verify your details. Once this has been verified, your card will appear within the Wallet and you can start using Apple Pay.

How do I use Apple Pay?

How you use the app will depend on what device you’re using.

Pros and Cons of using Apple Pay


  • It’s more secure than using your debit card or cash.
  • You can travel light without carrying a physical wallet.
  • You can use it to make purchases in-store, within apps and online.


  • You need an eligible device to use Apple Pay it doesn’t work on Android or other devices.
  • Not all banks offer Apple Pay.

What are Google Pay and Samsung Pay?

While Apple Pay is the digital wallet offered by tech giant Apple, Google Pay is the digital wallet solution offered by Google and Samsung Pay is the digital wallet developed by Samsung. It’s important to note that Google Pay is the combination of Android Pay and Google Wallet; Google rebranded to the single name “Google Pay” in early 2018.

If you don’t have a compatible Apple device, you could instead use Google Pay or Samsung Pay to make contactless payments using your phone. These digital wallets work in a very similar way to Apple Pay.

Bottom line

If you have a compatible iPhone, Apple Pay can lighten your wallet and let you spend securely. But if you’re not convinced, or your phone isn’t compatible, compare other digital wallets to find one that’s the right fit.

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