How to use Apple Pay with your iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac or iPad

5 minute read

Apple Pay launched as long ago as 2014,¹ but it took a while to really gain in popularity. Now, though, it seems that its time has finally come – more and more people are now prepared to pay for stuff using nothing but their iPhone, or even their Apple Watch.

The concept behind Apple Pay is simple. When you make a payment, rather than getting out your credit or debit card – or, caveman alert, actual cash – you can just hold your phone near a contactless card reader.

Is Apple Pay secure?

Not only is Apple Pay convenient, it’s also very secure, for two key reasons. Firstly, you have to confirm your identity every time you use it, unlike with contactless card payments. This needn’t be as time-consuming as typing in your PIN, because you can use a fingerprint or facial recognition.

Secondly, it’s secure because Apple takes steps to ensure your card numbers are concealed. Apple itself doesn’t store your card numbers – neither on your phone, nor on its servers – and the merchant doesn’t see them either.²

Which cards work with Apple Pay?

Because of Apple Pay’s innovative security structure, it needs to have deals with individual banks. So you will need to check if your bank is participating in Apple Pay. Very many banks do, though, and the list is constantly growing – most modern credit and debit cards can be used through Apple Pay.

One example of a card that works with Apple Pay is Wise’s debit Mastercard³ – which also has the advantage that you can store money on it in 40 currencies, and convert between them at the real mid-market rate. A great way to pay, if you’re looking for both convenience and a cost-effective way to make international payments.

Wise is a new and clever way to send money abroad, with over 7 million people and businesses saving money with them already.
If you send or receive money overseas, it can be worthwhile checking them out and joining the folks saving 3 million in hidden fees every day.

Wise Mastercard with balances

See if you can save with Wise

Anyhow, here’s some more information on how to use Apple Pay, and how to get it set up on your devices.

We cover:

How to use Apple Pay on iPhone

Apple Pay works on a range of Apple devices, but first and foremost among them is the iPhone. Here’s a guide to getting it set up on yours.

First off, check your card issuer supports Apple Pay – and that you have a compatible model. Apple Pay works with:⁴

  • Any iPhone with Face ID – that’s iPhone X and later, but not the iPhone SE 2020.⁵
  • Any iPhone with Touch ID – apart from the iPhone 5s. Any later model than that should be fine.⁶

Next, take the following steps:⁷

  1. Go to the Wallet app.
  2. Tap the plus sign you’ll see in the top right corner.
  3. Follow the instructions on screen. You can use the phone’s camera to automatically scan the card details, though you’ll need to type in the security code. You’ll also have to confirm you’ve read some T&Cs.
  4. Then your bank will need to verify your card. They’ll probably send you a code that you’ll need to type in.
  5. Once your card is verified, you’re all set up and Apple Pay is ready to use.

How to use Apple Pay in the store to buy things

As soon as you’re set up, you can start using Apple Pay to make purchases in stores.

It should be accepted at any store where you see one or both of two logos: the Apple Pay logo, and the contactless payment logo - both shown below. They’re pretty widely found everywhere, from convenience stores to restaurants, often with a label by the front door and/or wherever you pay. If you’re not sure, check with a member of staff there.


Here’s the (very simple) method for paying:⁸

  1. First, confirm your identity to your phone. Using Face ID, double-click the phone’s side button and look at the screen. Using Touch ID, simply rest your finger on the fingerprint reader.
  2. Once it’s identified you, hold the top of your phone close to the payment terminal. A checkmark will pop up on your screen when it’s done.

If you have an iPhone with a home button, double-clicking that button can also work to initiate Apple Pay.⁹

Man paying with Apple Watch

How to use Apple Pay on Apple Watch

You can also use Apple Pay with an Apple Watch – meaning you don’t even have to reach into your pocket. It works with most Apple Watches you’ll encounter – 1st generation and Series 1 and 2 onwards.⁴

Set it up like so:⁷

  1. Open your iPhone’s Apple Watch app, and then tap “My Watch.”
  2. Tap the “Wallet & Apple Pay” option and follow the instructions.
  3. Then comes the same authentication process as for your phone, including verification from your bank.
  4. After that, you’ll be all set.

And this is how you use it in a store:⁸

  1. Double-click the side button and hold it near the reader.
  2. Wait for a little tap from your watch. All done.

How to use Apple Pay on an iPad

You can use Apple Pay with your iPad just like with your iPhone, so long as it has Touch ID or Face ID. That includes models in the iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini ranges.⁴

Add a card using the same method as for an iPhone – except that you should start in Settings, and then go to Wallet & Apple Pay.⁷

Once you’re set up, you can use your iPad to pay in stores, restaurants, and so on, just like your iPhone.⁸

There are a few differences with an iPad. For instance, in some places you can use Apple Pay to pay for public transport – but you can only use an iPhone or Apple Watch for this, not an iPad.¹⁰

How to use Apple Pay online

You can also use Apple Pay for online purchases you make in the Safari browser.

That’s the case whether you’re on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Here’s what you do:⁸

  1. Tap or click the Apple Pay button on the page where you’re making the purchase.
  2. Carefully check your address details for billing and shipping, plus your contact information. After one use, this information will be stored.
  3. Make the purchase using Face ID or Touch ID.

As well as doing this in Safari, you can do it within apps on a mobile device.⁸

One of the great things about buying stuff online is the ease with which you can get stuff from abroad. But watch out for a hidden cost when you do that – currency conversion can mean that any payment in a foreign currency costs you more than it should.

To get around that, consider using Wise, where the multi-currency account lets you store money in a range of currencies, avoiding the risk of having to pay an international transaction fee. And if you do need to convert money between currencies, you’ll be able to do so at a better rate – the real mid-market rate, in fact.

How to use Apple Pay on a Mac

The method above will work for you in Safari on a Mac. But only some Macs have Touch ID.

Recent MacBook Pro and Air models may well have it,¹¹ but older models probably won’t.

However, you can use Apple Pay on any Mac model introduced since 2012, even if it doesn’t have a fingerprint reader – so long as you have a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch to use alongside it.⁴

Just follow the method above, and confirm payment via your phone or watch when you reach that stage. Simple.

Conclusion: Using Apple Pay

All in all, Apple Pay is a highly convenient way to pay that’s becoming ever wider recognized around the world. The security features should put your mind at ease that this is a safe way to make payments.

It’s most useful in stores where you’d normally have to use a card – it’s perfectly easy to use online as well, but as conventional online payments are also very fast, the benefits of Apple Pay don’t shine through quite so clearly there.

But if you’re an Apple user with a compatible device or two, there’s little reason not to set it up with Apple Pay and save yourself those vital few seconds next time you go to the store. Happy shopping!


  1. Apple Newsroom Apple Announces Apple Pay
  2. Apple Help Centre About Apple Pay
  3. Wise Help Centre How do I use my Wise debit Mastercard with Apple Pay?
  4. Apple Help Centre Apple Pay is compatible with these devices
  5. Apple Help Centre iPhone and iPad models that support Face ID
  6. Apple Help Centre Use Touch ID on iPhone and iPad
  7. Apple Help Centre Set up Apple Pay
  8. Apple Help Centre How to use Apple Pay
  9. Gadget Hacks The Hidden Action That Opens Apple Pay from Your iPhone's Lock Screen
  10. Apple Help Centre Where you can ride transit with Apple Pay
  11. Apple Help Centre Use Touch ID on your Mac

Sources checked 1 May 2020

Wise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location