Apple Pay Basics: How To Set Up and Use Apple Pay

Paying made simple.
Tayler Tayler (75)

Since it was first introduced in 2014, Apple Pay has simplified the world of digital payments and the digital wallet for Apple users, allowing them to make payments using their iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, and Macs without using their cards.

Promoting security and an easy-to-use platform, Apple Pay has helped to provide users with a secure way to pay with their mobile devices, both in stores and while shopping online.

Before I set out to write this guide, I didn't have Apple Pay set up. But it was something I really wanted to learn about. So for the purpose of this guide and for the purpose of education—let's learn about Apple Pay together!

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Apple Pay

As I state above: Apple Pay is Apple's mobile payment service that allows you to connect your cards to your phone, paying for things without the use of the cards themselves.

You can connect any of your cards through the Apple Wallet App which can be connected through any of your Apple products. Your apple wallet is essentially a virtual wallet where you can store all the cards you'd normally keep in an actual wallet.

Apple Pay is easy and secure.

Apple Pay allows you to make payments at the store, through apps, and on websites. It saves your information and uses a two-step verification process to help ensure that your information is protected.

Swiping card.

Apple Pay functions by being very different from card payments. Here's how Apple Pay compares with other forms of payment:

Apple Pay vs. Magnetic Stripe CC

  • Apple Payments are faster than magnetic stripes, which means you'll see the money taken from your bank account quicker.
  • Apple Pay doesn't collect transaction information which adds an extra layer of protection. What this means is Apple Pay adds a layer of anonymity, keeping your buying information private whereas other cards store them.
  • Magnetic stripe cards require pins that are exchanged between banks and merchants. Apple Pay doesn't require a pin unless you want it to because it can authorize payment once you verify yourself through your fingerprint verification or your face recognition verification.

Apple Pay vs. Chip

  • Chip cards, like magnetic stripes, store your payment history.
  • Chips were meant to be a more secure option than magnetic stripes but chips still store card information with the merchant, which doesn't help with security.
  • Apple Pay information is never stored with the merchant.

It's also worth mentioning that cards are painfully easy to lose. Have you ever lost a credit card and scrambled to cancel it the moment you realize it's gone? Apple Pay allows you to keep your credit cards at home, safe from the threat of being lost.

Bonus reason to switch to Apple Pay: you don't have to carry so many cards in your actual wallet!

Setting up Apple Wallet.

Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty: setting up Apple Pay.

For starters, it's very simple but I'm going to break it down, step-by-step, as I broke it down for myself as I set it up. Adding a card to your wallet is the same as setting up your Apple Pay. I've broken down this process for you (and me, let's be honest).

It begins with adding a card!

Setting Up Apple Pay

  • Locate your Wallet App. I had mine stored in my Apple Apps folder. It looks like a tiny digital wallet set against a black background.
Apple Wallet iOS
Card Type Explanation
Credit or Debit Card You can add debit or credit card
Apply for Apple Card An Apple Card is a credit card through Apple
SmarTrip - Washington DC A permanent and rechargeable card used to pay for the Metrorail in Washington DC
TAP - Greater Los Angeles A permanent and rechargeable card used to pay for transportation in Los Angeles
  • Upon selecting your card option, then select Continue.
  • This will bring you to the page where you can add your card information.
  • Pressing Next in the upper right-hand corner will direct you to the Terms and Conditions page.
  • Press Agree in the bottom right-hand corner to (sell your soul) add your card!
  • You'll be asked to verify your card which will allow you to confirm the use of your card for Apple Pay.

Note that sometimes you must further verify this with your particular bank, which Apple will automatically redirect you to do.


Paying with phone.

Now that your Wallet App is loaded with your cards, you're ready to make a payment! But how do you do that?

For starters, you can use any mobile device that is loaded with the Wallet App. Here's how:

On an iPhone

  • Look for the Apple Pay symbols on the card reader.
  • Open up your Wallet App and hold your iPhone against the terminal.
  • If Apple Pay doesn't pop up, you can double-tap on the power button.
  • You'll be prompted to verify using your PIN, your facial recognition, or your fingerprint.

On an Apple Watch

  • Install the Wallet App on your Apple Watch.
  • It will carry the information from your iPhone and place it on your Apple Watch.
  • Double-click the side button.
  • Place your Apple Watch near the contactless reader.
  • Wait until you feel the gentle tap on your wrist. This will confirm the payment.

On any other device

  • When you're ready to pay for an item on your iPad or Mac, click on the Apple Pay button.
  • You'll be asked to verify the billing, shipping, and contact information to make sure everything is correct. You'll only be asked this once. Apple Pay will store that information for the future.
  • Make your purchase and confirm the payment.
Paying with card.

If you decide that Apple Pay isn't for you and you want to keep using your credit cards directly, removing a card is extremely easy. Here's how you do it:

  • Start by opening the Wallet App and selecting the credit card you intend to delete.
  • Pressing the three-dot icon button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen which will direct you over to the card's information page.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and press the Remove This Card in red.
  • Press Remove if this is the card you want to remove. Apple Pay will remove it entirely.

It will disappear from your Apple Wallet and you'll receive a barrage of notifications telling you that the card has been removed from Apple Pay.

That's it! That's Apple Pay in a nutshell! It's simple, easy to use, and even safer because it provides you a chance to pursue contactless payment which will be especially important this holiday season.

Happy shopping!

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