How to use Apple Pay on an iPhone and Apple Watch

Convenient, secure, accessible – there are a myriad of reasons that you might want to start using Apple Pay. However, if you don’t yet know how to get up and running, fear not and simply read on.

What is Apple Pay?

Way back in 2014, Apple unveiled Apple Pay – the company’s own-brand solution for facilitating and authenticating payments on a host of devices within the Apple ecosystem. This was predominantly its iOS-based and macOS-based devices, with watchOS support arriving alongside the first Apple Watch in early 2015.

Contactless payments

iPhone or Apple Watch owners can use their device’s integrated NFC (near-field communication) functionality to allow contactless transactions, in the same way they’d use a contactless-capable credit or debit card, with a simple tap. Before a payment can be made using this method, the transaction has to be verified by the user by inputting their device’s PIN lock, fingerprint via Touch ID (including iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus) or facial data via Face ID (as found on the iPhone X).

iPhone X web

Online payments

Apple Pay is also supported by other devices within Apple’s ecosystem in online purchasing situations. Using its device’s PIN lock, Touch ID or Face ID (as before), online transactions from supported apps and websites can also be authenticated. Touch or Face ID-laden iPhones and the Apple Watch, Touch ID-toting iPads and the fingerprint sensor-packing MacBook Pro can also authenticate Apple Pay transactions.

Related: Best iPhone

Also, note that provided a user has an iPhone or iPad with either Face or Touch ID, then these devices can still be used to authenticate Apple Pay transactions made via a MacBook or iMac – devices that don’t have any form of biometric authentication themselves.

Peer-to-peer payments

More recently, Apple introduced Apple Pay Cash, which lets contacts to send money to each other directly via iMessage; the transaction is authenticated using the methods already mentioned. This particular Apple Pay feature is currently only available in the US, however.

How to set up Apple Pay

How to set up Apple Pay on iOS

Setting up Apple Pay on your iOS device is easy. Simply tap the ‘+’ icon within Apple’s native Wallet app, tap ‘continue’, and then use the viewfinder to scan your card or enter your card’s details manually. Once the details are input, a connection between the registered card on your device and your bank will be made.

In certain instances, you might be required to enter a one-time code for added security. This will usually be supplied by text message. Once you’ve agreed to all of Apple Pay’s and your bank’s terms relating to using the service, a virtual version of your card will then appear within the Wallet app.

If you have more than one card registered then you can also specify which one the device defaults to using by heading to the Settings menu, followed by ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’, and choosing your preferred default card under the ‘Transaction Defaults’ section.

How to set up Apple Pay on Apple Watch

If you want to add Apple Pay to your Apple Watch then open the Watch app on the iOS device that already has your Apple Pay registered card. Then, under the ‘My Watch’ tab, scroll down to and tap on ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’.

On the subsequent screen, you’ll see any Apple Pay registered cards on your device and an ‘add’ button to the right of each of them. Just tap ‘add’ next to the card you wish to pay with via your Apple Watch (ideally, while the watch is connected to your phone).

You’ll then be required to add the relevant CVV number (Card Verification Value) – the number on the back of your card – and then click ‘Next’, agree to the terms and complete verification via a text message or phone call (bank dependant). Once you’ve input your verification code and it’s been accepted, tap ‘Done’. You’ll then receive a notification on your Apple Watch confirming that Apple Pay has been set up and is ready to use.

How to pay with Apple Pay?

Apple Pay iPhone X screen closeup

Contactless payments

If trying to make a contactless payment, simply hold your iPhone near any payment terminal that supports NFC contactless transactions. Doing so will bring up your default card and the option to authenticate the transaction using Touch or Face ID (if either fails, you’ll need to type in your PIN to verify the transaction).

Alternatively, you can double-tap the home button (or side button, in the case of the iPhone X) to bring up the Apple Pay screen and verify the transaction.

If making a contactless payment using your Apple Watch, simply double-tap the side key to bring up your card and then hold your watch against the payment terminal.

App payments

When downloading apps from the App Store, or making in-app purchases from apps that support it, the Apple Pay authentication screen will take the place of the standard Apple ID entry screen for verifying purchases.

Online payments

You can pay through Safari on your MacBook or iMac by finding a website that supports Apple Pay and choosing ‘Apple Pay’ as the payment method at checkout. Provided your Mac and iOS device are signed in using the same Apple ID, you’re iOS device will serve you a pop-up prompt, requesting Touch or Face ID authentication to validate the payment. Once detected, the transaction will continue within Safari on your Mac.

Which banks support Apple Pay?

The list of banks that supports Apple Pay continues to grow, so to be sure your bank is supported, check on Apple’s website directly by going here.

Where can I use Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is essentially accepted anywhere that conventional contactless payments are, but you can also use Apple Pay within the App Store and when making in-app purchases on supported apps.

Apple Pay iPhone X contactless payment

It’s also worth noting that transit systems such as London’s Oyster card network support Apple Pay too.