How to Set Up and Use Apple Pay: A Beginner’s Guide

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

Apple Pay is a safe and simple way to send online payments, 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.

1. What Is Apple Pay?

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.

iPhone with Apple Pay Wallet
Apple Wallet on iPhone. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

In 2017 at the WWDC, Apple announced that iOS 11 would 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 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.

Setting up Apple Pay on iPhone
Steps to add a card to Apple Pay: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

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 and then displays a demo of how it works.

3. How to Set Up Apple Pay on Apple Watch

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.

How to set up Apple Pay on Apple Watch
Set up Apple Pay on Apple Watch. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

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

Your Bank Issuer must be partnered with Apple Pay. Otherwise, you won’t be able to add your card to Apple Pay. For more details, check this list of Apple Pay participating banks to see if your bank is included.

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.

Here’s how it works:

  • 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.
Setting up Apple Pay on Mac
Add a card to Apple pay on Safari. Image: Courtesy of Apple

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

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.

Allowing Payments on Mac
Allow payments on Mac. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

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

Remember that you might need to confirm your identity via phone, SMS, or e-mail, depending on your bank. The process is quick, though.

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

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.

Checking out online using Apple Pay
Checking out online using Apple Pay. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Using Apple Pay within apps couldn’t be easier. It works similarly to PayPal.

  • At your checkout window, select Apple Pay as your payment option.
  • Then confirm which card you wish to use and your billing and shipping address.
  • Next, confirm the payment via Touch ID or Face ID.

6. How to Use Apple Pay in Stores

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.

iPhone paying with Apple Pay
A person paying with Apple Pay. Photo courtesy: Apple

It’s the same process for iPhones with a 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.

  • 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 using 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 prompt to confirm your payment with Touch ID shows up on the Touch Bar.

You can still use Apple Pay on the web with a Mac without a Touch ID. You’ll need to confirm your payment with your iPhone or Apple Watch.

8. How to Use Apple Pay Cash to Send and Receive Money

Apple Pay has 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. 

Adding a card to Apple Wallet
Adding a card to Apple Wallet. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

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 to. 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
Requesting money through Apple Pay. 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 activate your Apple Cash account, it will appear in the Wallet app. Then you can start using it.

Here’s how to use Apple Pay Cash in the Messages app:

  • In Messages, tap the Apple Pay icon, and 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 your Face ID, Touch ID, or 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. 

Final Thoughts on How to Set Up and Use Apple Pay

And there you have it. Our comprehensive guide on how to set up and use Apple Pay. We hope you find this guide useful in helping you use Apple Pay to make payments.

If you have any feedback or questions, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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