Contactless payments are becoming more popular, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Setting up Apple Pay gives your business another way to safely take payments. To get started, make sure your point-of-sale (POS) software and hardware are up-to-date.
Apple Pay is built on near-field communication (NFC) technology — a protocol between two electronic devices spaced less than 1.5 inches apart. This technology enables contactless payments, so first you need to confirm that your POS system is NFC capable.
Here’s how to set up Apple Pay in your store:
1. Gather essential information
Have the following information handy:
Merchant account number or ID
Support number on your account statement or POS terminal
Make and model of your POS terminal
2. Contact your merchant account provider
Call the support number to ask whether or not your terminal is NFC-capable. You could also find this information on your provider’s website.
If your terminal is NFC-capable, move to the next step.
3. Update your software if necessary
Your merchant account provider should know the software requirements your terminal needs to accommodate Apple Pay. Ask whether you can trigger the software update on your end, or whether they need to do this.
4. Train your employees
After your hardware is updated with the correct software, you can begin accepting Apple Payments. Instruct your staff to remind customers that Apple Pay is an option. Also consider posting a note, decal or sign next to the POS terminal to give customers a visual reminder.
If you use Square as a payment processor, you’ll receive an Apple Pay marketing kit that includes training materials for your staff, complete with a cheat-sheet sticker to post by the POS terminal.
How to accept Apple Pay online
Accepting Apple Pay online depends on whether you use an e-commerce platform for your website or hire developers to build and maintain it using code.
If you use an e-commerce platform like Shopify:
Use the Apple Pay software development kit (SDK) provided by your e-commerce provider to include Apple Pay as a payment option at checkout. Most popular e-commerce platforms will have a ready-made Apple Pay SDK.
If you built your website or app from scratch:
If your POS system isn’t on this list, Apple Pay might still be accepted — reach out to your provider directly to confirm.
Does it cost money to accept Apple Pay?
No, Apple Pay doesn’t charge additional fees when customers use it as a payment method.
That said, you could end up spending money if you need to upgrade your POS terminal or switch merchant providers to accept Apple Pay. But after your equipment is all set up, accepting Apple Pay won’t cost a cent.
Pros and cons of Apple Pay for Merchants
Contactless payment can speed up transactions and simplify the overall payment process. This could definitely be handy during that morning lunch rush, when your employees are strapped for time.
Here are the pros and cons of accepting Apple Pay for your business:
Attracts Apple loyalists. Die-hard iPhone and Apple Watch customers may be more likely to frequent your store once you start accepting Apple Pay.
Low investment. Other than upgrading your equipment, Apple Pay won’t cost you. It simply takes some time to set up.
Reduces fraud. Since Apple Pay users have to verify their identity using Touch or Face ID, fraudulent in-store transactions are far less likely.
You may have to update your hardware. This takes time and can be expensive, depending on your payment processor.
Only useful for customers with an iPhone or Apple Watch. It won’t be useful for customers that use Android or Samsung devices.
Mobile payments vs. credit cards
When a customer uses Apple Pay, they’re paying with a credit card from the virtual Apple Pay wallet.
The table below compares mobile contactless payments to accepting credit cards via chip or swipe:
Ease of adoption
May require additional steps, depending on your payment processor
May require staff training
Included with every POS system
Predicted to grow in popularity
May eventually be considered inconvenient or clunky compared to contactless payment
Other contactless payment options
Most phones and some banks offer virtual wallets that customers can use for contactless payments. If your POS system is equipped to accept Apple Pay, it could process:
A customer wearing a Fitbit can use contactless payments by holding the smartwatch near the contactless payment POS system. The user’s credit or debit card information is transferred to your POS system through NFC.
Setting up Apple Pay for your business is a matter of making sure that your hardware is NFC-capable, and that your software is up to date. If you’d rather switch payment processing providers altogether, compare different POS systems.
Frequently asked questions
There are two ways to process returns using Apple Pay:
Use the device account number. The customer can find the last four digits of their device account number by going to their wallet, tapping the card they used to pay, and clicking the three little dots in the lower right-hand corner.
Authorize the return with a passcode, Touch ID or Face ID. The customer should hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the reader, choose the card they used to pay, and authorize the return as prompted.
No, there are no transaction limits with Apple Pay, though customers may be prompted to sign for purchases over $50.
Apple Pay payments made in-store are considered card-present transactions, which means the card’s electronic data is captured when you make the sale. However, Apple Pay payments made online are considered card-not-present transactions.
Amy Stoltenberg writes about lifestyle and money for Finder, researching the best options for shopping, banking, insurance and authentic travel experiences. After studying writing and fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked designing apparel at a corporate behemoth before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop’s closed, she can be found wandering the streets looking for happy hour and hole-in-the-wall eateries.
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