How to set up and use Apple Pay: A beginner’s guide

This complete guide explains how to set up Apple Pay and start using it on Apple devices.

how to set up and use Apple Pay

If you own an Apple device, specifically an iPhone, then you should know how to set up and use Apple Pay.

Apple Pay is a safe and simple way to send online payment, but it can be challenging for non-techie people to get to grips with.

But don’t let that put you put off. Setting up Apple Pay isn’t that complicated, and you can get started in just a few minutes.

Here’s everything, you’ll learn in this guide.

  1. What is Apple Pay?
  2. How to set up Apple Pay on iOS
  3. How to set up Apple Pay on Apple Watch
  4. How to set up Apple Pay on macOS
  5. How to use Apple Pay within apps
  6. How to use Apple Pay in stores
  7. How to use Apple Pay in Safari
  8. How to use Apple Pay Cash to send and receive money
  9. How to use Apple Pay with Siri

1. What is Apple Pay?

iPhone with Apple Pay Wallet
Image: Courtesy of Apple

Apple Pay is Apple’s mobile payment and digital wallet service. It lets users easily pay for purchases online and in participating retail stores using their devices instead of cash or a physical credit or debit card.

In 2017 at the WWDC, Apple announced that iOS 11 will integrate Apple Pay into the Messages app. This allows Apple device users to send and receive money within the app. Transfers go directly to their virtual Pay Cash card or an eligible debit card in their Wallet. This feature is only available in the United States, though.

In August 2019, Apple introduced its own credit card, the Apple Card, which is deeply integrated into Apple Pay and the Wallet app. Apple offers many benefits when using Apple Pay with Apple Card like 3% daily cashback.

2. How to set up Apple Pay on iOS

Setting up Apple Pay on iPhone
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Setting up Apple Pay on an iPhone or iPad couldn’t be easier. The release of iOS 8.1 activated Apple Pay on every iPhone, so all you have to do is link your payment method.

To do this, find and open the “Wallet” app then tap the + sign in the top right corner. Next, your iPhone guides you through adding one of your cards to the app then displays a demo of how it works.

3. How to set up Apple Pay on Apple Watch

How to set up Apple Pay on Apple Watch
Image: Courtesy of Apple

To set up Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, first navigate to the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone. Then tap the Wallet & Apple Pay menu.

From this menu simply press “add a new card” then follow the instructions on your screen. Once you add a card, your bank or card issuer verifies your information and activating Apple Pay.

Your Bank Issuer must be partnered with Apple Pay, otherwise you won’t be able to add your card to Apple Pay. Find below a list of Apple Pay participating banks.

4. How to set up Apple Pay on macOS

Before you can set up Apple Pay on your MacBook Pro, you need to allow websites to check if Apple Pay is set up.

Setting up Apple Pay on Mac
Image: Courtesy of Apple

Open the Safari app, click on Safari, then “Preferences”. A pop-up tab will open, click on Privacy, then check the box next to: “Apple Pay and Apple Card”. This will allow websites to prompt you with the payment option when buying goods or services online.

For the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar or later, you’ll be able to authorize the payment with the Touch Bar on your keyboard. But first, let’s add your card if you haven’t done that already.

  1. Click the Apple logo on the upper left of your Mac, click “System Preferences”, then click “Wallet & Apple Pay”.
  2. Click “Add Card” to add a new credit or debit card. Sign in to iCloud in case you’re not to move on to the next step.
  3. If you already have a card on file, you can use it after you enter the security code when prompted. Otherwise, you can either manually add one or position your card in front of your MacBook Pro camera and follow the instructions.

For MacBook Pro without Touch Bar

Allowing Payments on Mac
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Older MacBook Pros don’t have the necessary hardware support to store cards for Apple Pay on the device. Therefore, you’ll need to use your iPhone or Apple Watch’s stored cards to make purchases.

Go to your iPhone Settings app, tap “Wallet & Apple Pay”. Scroll down, then slide the button next to “Allow Payments on Mac” to the On position (when it’s green).

Note: Depending on your bank you might need to confirm your identity via phone, SMS, or e-mail. The process is quick. For some banks, you may need to call them to verify your identity, which can take days. It all depends on your bank. But once, everything is set and ready to go, you can start using Apple Pay everywhere it’s accepted.

5. How to use Apple Pay within apps

Checking out online using Apple Pay
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Shortly after the release of Apple Pay, Apple released an API for app developers to integrate Apple Pay into their checkout options. With the high level of security provided by Apple Pay, this quickly became the ideal choice for many developers.

Using Apple Pay within apps couldn’t be easier. It works in a similar way to PayPal. At your checkout window, simply select Apple Pay as your payment options then confirm which card you wish to use, and your billing and shipping address. Next, just confirm the payment via Touch ID or Face ID.

6. How to use Apple Pay in stores

iPhone paying with Apple Pay

If you see one of these symbols when checking out in a store, then you can pay with Apple Pay.

For iPhone with Face ID, double click the Side button to use your default card. Then, look at your phone or enter your passcode to authenticate yourself. Hold the top of your phone close to the contactless reader until “Done” with a checkmark appears on the display.

It’s basically the same process for iPhone with Touch ID. The only difference is you double-press the Home button when your iPhone is locked and Apple Pay will open with your default card. Then, rest your finger on the Home button and hold the top of the phone next to the reader until you see the animation with a tick and you’re set.

Paying at a store with Apple Pay on your Apple Watch only requires the touch of a button. Simply double click the side button of your Apple Watch then hold your apple watch near the contactless reader at the store until you feel a light tap. This processes your payment on your default card.

7. How to use Apple Pay in Safari

Checking out with Apple Pay on the web requires you to use an Apple device and the Safari web browser. So long as you’re using an Apple device and the Safari web browser, the checkout process is nearly identical to using Apple Pay within an app. 

The only difference is if you are using a Mac with Touch ID, the prompts to confirm your payment with Touch ID shows up on the Touch Bar. You can also still use Apple Pay on the web with a Mac without Touch ID, you’ll just need to confirm your payment with your iPhone or Apple Watch.

8. How to use Apple Pay Cash to send and receive money

Adding credit cards to Apple Wallet
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Apple Pay comes with a built-in service that lets users send, receive, and request money from others through Messages or via Siri on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Apple Cash would be the equivalent of Venmo, Zelle, or Cash App. 

To use Apple Cash, you need iOS 11.2 or later, or WatchOS 4.2 or later on a compatible device. You’ll also need to make sure to sign in to iCloud on the device you want to receive or send money. You need to set up Apple Cash first before you can use it. The steps below will walk you through.

Requesting money through Apple Pay
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Launch the Settings app on an iOS device (signed in with your iCloud) and tap “Wallet & Apple Pay”. Then, tap “Apple Cash” under the Payments Card tab.

Follow the quick instructions to set up your Apple Cash card. Once you activated your Apple Cash account, it will show up in the Wallet app, then you can start using it.

In Messages tap the Apple Pay icon, use the “-” and “+” button to select an amount or tap the “Show Keypad” button to enter a specific amount. Then, tap “Request” or “Pay” and confirm with Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode.

9. How to use Apple Pay with Siri

Apple has integrated Apple Pay with its virtual assistant, Siri. To use Apple Pay with Siri, all you need to do is to launch it and say something like: “Send $5 to Yankel” or “Pay Yankel $5”, assuming Yankel is in your contact list.

There’s no fee to send, receive, or request money using your Apple Cash account. And opening up an Apple Cash card won’t affect your credit score. 

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