I love using Apple Pay to buy stuff but, often, when I use my iPhone at a cafe or in the cafeteria, I hear from someone nearby: "I didn't know you could do that!" When I was recently buying a new iPhone with my father in law, he was surprised to learn that I could use my iPhone to make the purchase and said "You gotta show me how to set that up!"
So I'm going to do that.
Apple Pay has been around since 2015, and it allows you to buy things by tapping your iPhone at a checkout terminal. These terminals are all over the place: Coffee shops, gas stations, retailers and even some public transit lines. You don't have to take out your credit card card. It's even a great backup if you accidentally left your wallet in the car. And all you need is an iPhone 6 or newer.
There's also a privacy benefit to using Apple Pay. Apple doesn't track your transactions or tie them to you, and it doesn't share your credit card or debit card numbers with merchants when you make a purchase. So, if a retailer gets hacked and thieves get a bunch of credit card data used to make purchases there, your card number won't be taken if you used Apple Pay.
It's supported by banks and credit cards around the world, so chances are you own a credit card or have an account at a bank that uses it.
Plus, you can use Apple Pay on other Apple devices like your Mac or iPad to buy stuff on websites if you use Safari. Once you set it up on your phone, you'll just need to enter in the 3-digit or 4-digit CCV number on the back of your card to use it on your Apple Watch, iPad or Mac.
By the way, don't confuse Apple Pay with the Apple Card, which is a separate credit card you can apply for and use. Apple Pay is a system that lets you buy stuff with cards you already have, while the Apple Card is just a separate credit card option. The two work together, but you don't need the Apple Card to use Apple Pay.
The iPhone is the best starting point for using Apple Pay, since it's the device you'll use to tap-and-pay at retailers around the world. To get started:
Now you'll see the card in the Wallet app on your iPhone.
Now that you've set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, it's time to use it. If you walk into a shop that accepts mobile payments, you'll see logos that show if Apple Pay is accepted. (Pro-tip: some stores show the cards they accept, even Apple Pay, with stickers on their front door.)
You're looking for these symbols:
Here's what to do when you're ready to buy something:
I've found most retailers are happy to help if you get confused. Even if you don't see a sign, you can always ask if they accept Apple Pay. You'll probably be surprised how many retailers (especially in the U.S.) accept it.
Once you've set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, you can add the cards to your Apple Watch to use it to buy stuff, too. Here's what to do:
Now, you can use your Apple Watch or your iPhone to buy stuff where Apple Pay is accepted. Just do this:
Apple Pay not only works in the physical world, but also works with the Safari web browser and apps on the Mac, so you can use it to buy stuff online. You just need a Mac with a Touch ID fingerprint reader or a model introduced after 2012, and an iPhone or Apple Watch that's set up with Apple Pay. You can add cards on your Mac by doing this:
When you're checking out on a website that accepts Apple Pay, just select that option and choose the card you want to use. You'll verify yourself using either the fingerprint reader on your Mac or using an Apple Watch or iPhone. Just double tap the side button on your iPhone X or later with Face ID, touch the Touch ID home button on an iPhone 8 or earlier, or double tap the side button of your Apple Watch to confirm.
You can also use Apple Pay in Safari and in apps on an iPad, just like on a Mac. To add a card on an iPad, do this:
That's it! Now you've learned how to use Apple Pay on your iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad.