Apple Pay offers a handy way to pay for shopping, travel and just about anything else using your iPhone or iPad. Since it was first revealed back in 2014, Apple Pay support has been adopted around the world, making it one of the most popular digital wallet services alongside Google Pay for Android users. If you’re yet to set it up, now is the perfect time to start using Apple Pay. 

Here, we outline all you need to know about setting up and using Apple Pay on iPhone and Apple Watch. If you’re on an Android, we outline how to make payments using your phone separately. 

How to set up Apple Pay on iPhone and Apple Watch

As long as your bank offers Apple Pay support - you can find out which banks offer support here - you’ll be able to add your card for use with Apple Pay. It’s a simple process, and if you’ve got an Apple Watch, you can add your card to both your iPhone and Watch at the same time. That’ll save you a few minutes!

The only requirement is an iPhone that supports Apple Pay; the feature was first introduced with the iPhone 6 range, so you’ll need an iPhone 6 or newer to use the feature. Apple Watch owners, on the other hand, don’t need to worry as all generations of Watch boast Apple Pay support. 

To set up Apple Pay, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Wallet app.
  2. Tap the + icon in the top-right of the app to add a new card.
  3. Tap Continue.
  4. Align your card with the camera outline to automatically input your card details. If you’re in poor light, you can enter your details manually by tapping the button at the bottom of the page. 
  5. You’ll then be taken to a page displaying your card details - verify that this information is correct before tapping Next.
  6. Verify your Expiry Date and add your three-digit security code from the back of your card. 
  7. Apple will then contact your card issuer to verify the details provided. Agree to the Terms and Conditions that pop-up - you can read through the document if you want, but it’ll take quite a while. 
  8. You’ll then have to verify that you’re the cardholder by selecting one of the available options. These vary depending on your bank, but you’ll usually choose between a phone call, text message or, in the case of some banks, tapping a verification link in the banking app itself. 
  9. Once verified, Apple Watch owners will be offered the option of adding the card to the Apple Watch. Before doing so, make sure that you’re wearing your Apple Watch, and that it’s not in Airplane mode. Once you’re ready, tap the ‘Add to Apple Watch’ button.
  10. This should take you to the Apple Watch app with your card details already added - you’ll just need to verify (again, we know) that you’re the cardholder in the same way you did in step 8. 

You should then see your digital card appear in the Wallet app on your iPhone and Apple Watch, ready for use.

How to use Apple Pay on iPhone

Using Apple Pay on your iPhone is easy, but the process does differ slightly depending on the iPhone you have. iPhone X and later models use Face ID as a method of verification, while older iPhone 6, 7, 8 and SE ranges require a fingerprint scan via Touch ID. 

We outline both methods here:

iPhone X or later

  1. Double-tap the Side/Power button or hold your iPhone near a contactless payment point to activate Apple Pay. You can do this from the lockscreen - no need to unlock your iPhone first.
  2. Look at your iPhone to authenticate using Face ID.
  3. Hold your iPhone near to the contactless point to complete the translation.

If you use Apple Pay to buy apps in the App Store or via Safari on your iPhone, you’ll have to double-press the side button and look at your phone to use Face ID within 30 seconds to confirm the purchase. 

iPhone 6, 7, 8 or SE

While Face ID brought a number of improvements to the overall iOS experience, it does add an extra step to Apple Pay. It’s much simpler to use if you’ve got an older Touch ID-enabled model:

  1. Rest your finger on your Touch ID scanner.
  2. Place your iPhone within a few centimetres of the contactless point to pay using Apple Pay. 

How to use Apple Pay on Apple Watch

Like Touch ID-enabled iPhones, using Apple Pay on Apple Watch is a simple two-step process. It doesn’t require any form of authentication as it’ll have been unlocked when first put on, but if you’re yet to unlock the Apple Watch, you’ll need to enter your passcode first. 

  1. Double-press the Side button on the Apple Watch.
  2. Hold the Watch close to a contactless payment point until you hear a chime/feel a buzz on your wrist.

Where can I use Apple Pay?

Apple Pay adoption in the UK is widespread; wherever you can use contactless payments, you can use Apple Pay. Some stores display the Contactless icon in the store window to advertise the available option, so keep an eye out for that, or the Apple Pay icon. 

Unfortunately, it’s not as clear-cut in the US. Due to the US lagging behind the UK, Australia and many other countries around the world when it comes to adopting contactless payment technology, Apple Pay isn’t as widely available in America. As with the UK, US stores that support Apple Pay should display the Apple Pay icon in the storefront window, so keep an eye out for those as you go about your day-to-day business.

It’s also worth noting that you can use your iPhone to search for local Apple Pay-supported businesses; simply open Apple Maps, search for “Apple Pay” and it’ll list all your local options.  

What’s the limit on Apple Pay?

Traditionally, contactless payments in the UK have been limited to £30, and although that has recently been increased to £45 to cut down on cash payments during the Coronavirus outbreak, most stores have removed the payment limit for Apple Pay payments altogether.

Why? Simply put, Apple Pay is more secure than standard contactless; somebody could get access to a contactless credit or debit card and go on a spending spree with no prompt to input the card’s PIN number, whereas Apple Pay requires a form of authentication - be it a fingerprint, a scan of your face or your phone’s PIN number - and that’s something a fraudster wouldn’t be able to access on-the-fly. 

If, for whatever reason, the store you’re in doesn’t accept Apple Pay payments over £45, you’ll have to use your physical card instead.

In the US, things are slightly different; you should be able to pay any amount via Apple Pay wherever it’s supported, but you may be required to provide a signature for purchases over $50.  

Is there a fee to use Apple Pay?

There are some misconceptions surrounding Apple Pay and a fee to use the service, so let us clear this up: Apple Pay is free to use, with no per-transaction or monthly fee. You can use your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay for products in stores and online without any worry about having to pay any additional fees, regardless of how often you use it.