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A guide to Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a quick and secure contactless payment system you can use with your Apple devices. Here’s how it works.

Apple Pay is a quick and secure contactless payment system you can use with your Apple devices. Here’s how it works.

Written by
Sajni Shah
Consumer money expert
16 NOVEMBER 2023
3 min read
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What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is a way to make contactless payments from your Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch or MacBook.

Apple launched the service in 2014 in an attempt to change the way people make payments. Today, Apple Pay is accepted at millions of websites, apps and stores.

How do I set up Apple Pay?

Apple Pay takes just a few minutes to set up on iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches.

To set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, you need to:

  1. Open up the Wallet app and tap the Add button
  2. Tap Debit or Credit Card to add a new card
  3. Enter the card’s security code
  4. Complete any extra security steps.

For iPads:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Wallet & Apply Pay
  3. Tap Add Card
  4. Fill in card details.

For Macs:

  1. Go to System Preferences
  2. Then go to Wallet & Apple Pay
  3. Tap Add Card
  4. Fill in your card details.

For an Apple Watch:

  1. On your paired iPhone, open the Apple Watch app
  2. In the My Watch tab, tap Wallet & Apple Pay
  3. Tap Add Card
    1. Tap Debit or Credit Card to add a new card
    2. Tap Previous Card to add a card that you used previously
  4. Tap Continue
  5. Follow the steps on the screen to add your card.

How do I use Apple Pay?

Apple pay is simple to use.

Using Apple Pay when making contactless payments:

  1. Double click the side button on your phone if you have Face ID
  2. If prompted, enter your passcode to open Apple Wallet
  3. If your iPhone has Touch ID, double-click the Home button
  4. Hold the top of your iPhone near the contactless reader until ‘Done’ and a tick appears on the display.

If you have more than one debit or credit card in your Apple Wallet, you just need to select the card you want to pay with.

Using Apple Pay online or within apps:

  1. Select Apple Pay as your payment method
  2. Choose a card to pay with
  3. Enter billing, delivery and contact information if necessary
  4. Confirm your payment.

What are the pros and cons of Apple Pay?

Apple Pay has a number of advantages.

  • A quick and easy way to pay
  • Easy to set up on your devices
  • Secure – protects your personal data and purchases stay private
  • Higher contactless limit – you can usually spend over the £100 contactless limit, but it depends on the retailer

Cons of Apple Pay:

  • Harder to track of your everyday spending
  • Full reliance on your devices could lead to trouble if you lose your iPhone or Apple Watch
  • Apple Pay might not be available everywhere.

Where can I use Apple Pay?

You can use Apple Pay in shops, restaurants, petrol stations, taxis or anywhere else you see an Apple Pay symbol, including online and in apps.

You can also use Apple Pay across all Transport for London services, including the Underground, buses and trams. Touch in and out on rail services to pay the right fare and only touch in on buses and trams. You no longer need to use Face ID or touch ID.

Frequently asked questions

Is Apple Pay safe?

Apple Pay is secure as your actual card numbers aren’t stored on your device or on Apple servers.

When you pay in shops, neither Apple nor your device will send your actual card number to merchants. When you pay online in Safari or in apps, the merchant will only receive information you authorise to fulfil your order — such as your name, email address, and billing and shipping addresses.

And, when you pay with a debit or credit card, Apple Pay doesn’t keep transaction information that can be tied back to you.

Which banks support Apple Pay?

Apple Pay works with many of the UK’s major credit and debit cards from the leading banks.

Many banks around the world support Apple Pay. You can see the full list of participating banks in Africa, Europe and the Middle East on the Apple website.

Can I use Apple Pay abroad?

Yes, you can use Apple Pay in countries and regions that support contactless payments. Make sure you ask your bank about any fees they may charge for overseas spending.

Does Apple Pay have a spend limit?

Apply Pay doesn’t have a spending limit but retailers might, so double check.

Sajni Shah - Consumer expert on utilities and money

Sajni is passionate about building products, allowing Compare the Market to help you make great financial decisions. She keeps track of the latest trends and evolving markets to find new ways to help you save money.

Learn more about Sajni