Apple Pay Not Working? How to Fix It

Troubleshoot this popular payment method

Rather than fumbling for cash, check, or credit card, use Apple Pay mobile payment service to make purchases with speed and convenience. However, you may find you're unable to complete a transaction when you use Apple Pay at the gas station or another retail establishment.

Information in this article applies to the iPhone 11 series, X series, 8, 7, and 6 series iPhones.

The Causes of Apple Pay Not Working Properly

The most common reasons for Apple Pay not working is that the phone is low on battery charge, or the store doesn't have the capability to accept Apple Pay.

Pay With Your iPhone
Tom Werner / Getty Images

Then again, there are times when you can't get Apple Pay to work, which is inconvenient to deal with if you don't usually carry cash. There could be issues with the Apple Pay servers, a faulty digital payment terminal, or problems with a particular debit or credit card.

How to Fix Apple Pay Not Working

If you have trouble getting Apple Pay to work, there are a few things that you can do to resolve the issue. Most of these are fast and easy solutions to fix the problem and get Apple Pay working again.

  1. Confirm Apple Pay servers are up. You may not have an Apple Pay problem. The Apple Pay servers might be down due to technical issues, which has nothing to do with your iPhone. When this is the case, wait for the service to start working again.

    To find out whether Apple Pay is experiencing any downtime, go to the Apple System Status website and check if there is a green circle next to Apple Pay. A green circle rules out a service failure. You can move on to other solutions.

  2. Confirm that the business accepts Apple Pay. If it does, it may be that a particular terminal isn't working when you use Apple Pay. When you encounter this problem, ask if there is another terminal you can use. Once you know which terminal accepts Apple Pay, keep it in mind for future transactions.

  3. Manually select a credit or debit card. Even if you're at a working terminal, you may encounter issues with the device detecting Apple Pay on your iPhone. If you hold up the iPhone and Apple Pay isn't working, select a credit card manually in the Wallet app to make a payment.

  4. Charge the iPhone battery. When the iPhone battery is low—typically at 10% of charge or lower—it may go into Low Power Mode, and many features on the iPhone cease to work to save power. Be sure your iPhone has a sufficient charge before you go shopping.

  5. Remove and re-add the credit or debit card. There may be a credit or debit card that gives you repeated issues when you use it on Apple Pay. This can happen when you get a new credit card from your provider, and the changed information is not immediately updated on Apple Pay. If this is the case, remove the card information and re-add it to fix the issue.

  6. Close the Apple Wallet app. Apps can freeze or lock up. Closing and reopening the Apple Wallet app may fix a problem related to Apple Pay.

  7. Restart the iPhone. Restarting the phone can fix a host of troubles.

  8. Restore the iPhone to factory settings. If none of the strategies above resolve the Apple Pay problem, restore the iPhone to its factory settings. This is a last-chance option that can't be done while you are standing in line, waiting to pay.

    Restoring a device to its factory settings removes your personal data and files from the iPhone, so having a recent backup is essential to restoring the phone.

If none of the above fixes work, go to the Apple online support site for help if you want to fix the problem yourself. Otherwise, take the iPhone to an Apple Store or an authorized Apple service provider.

Make an Apple Genius Bar appointment before you take an iPhone to a local Apple Store so you won't have to wait in line for help.

  • Which prepaid cards work with Apple Pay?

    Apple Pay works with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express prepaid cards. You can also use Apple Pay with some Discover cards.

  • Where does Apple Pay work?

    According to Apple, Apple Pay is accepted by 85 percent of U.S. retailers including Best Buy, GameStop, Walgreens, Costco, and Target. Basically anywhere that accepts contactless payments takes Apple Pay. Even some vending machines, taxis, and subway stations accept Apple Pay.

  • Why isn't Apple Pay working in text messages?

    The person you're trying to send money to may not be eligible to accept payments through text messages. Try deleting the conversation and starting a new one, unlink and relink your card, then restart the Apple Pay and Messages apps. If you still have trouble, update iOS and restart your device.

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