How to Use Apple Pay

Woman Paying using Apple Watch and Electronic Reader

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Apple Pay is Apple's wireless payments system that will transform how you buy things. It's so simple, and so secure, that once you start using it, you'll never want to go back. But before you can start walking through the checkout aisle with just your phone and without ever taking out your wallet, you need to set up Apple Pay. 

In order to use Apple Pay, you need to make sure your device meets its requirements:

How to Set Up Apple Pay

Set up Apple Pay, step 1

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Once you know you meet the requirements:

  1. Begin the setup process by opening the Passbook app that comes built into the iOS.
  2. In the top right corner of Passbook, tap the + sign. Depending on what you already have set up in Passbook, you may need to swipe down a bit to reveal the + sign.
  3. Tap Set Up Apple Pay.
  4. You may be asked to log in to your Apple ID. If so, log in.

Add Credit or Debit Card Information

Set up Apple Pay, step 2

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The next screen you come to in the Apple Pay setup process gives you two options: Add a new Credit or Debit Card or learn About Apple Pay.

Tap Add a new Credit or Debit Card.

When you've done that, a screen that allows you to enter the information about the card you want to use appears. Fill this out by typing in:

  1. Your name as it appears on your credit or debit card.
  2. The 16-digit card number. (Notice the camera icon on this line? That's a shortcut that makes adding the card information much faster. If you want to try that, tap the icon and move on to step 3 of this article.)
  3. The card's expiration date.
  4. The security code/CVV. This is the 3-digit code on the back of the card.
  5. When you've done those things, tap the Next button in the top right corner of the screen. If the company that issued you the card is participating in Apple Pay, you'll be able to continue. If it's not, you'll see a warning to that effect and will need to enter another card.

Add, Then Verify, a Credit or Debit Card

Set up Apple Pay, step 3

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If you tapped the camera icon in step 2, you'll come to the screen shown in the first screenshot on this page. This feature of Passbook allows you to add all of your card information simply by using the iPhone's built-in camera rather than typing it in.

To do this, line up your credit card in the frame shown on the screen. When it's lined up properly and the phone recognizes the card number, the 16-digit card number will appear on the screen. With this, your card number and other information will automatically be added to the ​setup process. Easy, huh?

Next, you'll be asked to agree to Apple Pay's terms. Do so; you can't use it unless you agree.

After that, Apple Pay needs to send you a verification code to ensure your security. You can choose to do this via email, text message, or by calling a phone number. Tap the option you want to use and tap Next.

Verifying & Activating a Card in Apple Pay

Set up Apple Pay, step 4

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Depending on what verification method you selected in the last step, you'll get your verification code by email or text message, or you'll need to call the 800 number shown on the screen.

If you choose the first two options, the verification code will be sent to you quickly. When it arrives: 

  1. Tap the Enter Code button in Passbook.
  2. Enter the code using the numeric keyboard that appears.
  3. Tap Next.

Assuming you've entered the correct code, you'll see a message letting you know the card has been activated for use with Apple Pay. Tap Done to start using it.

Set Your Default Card for Apple Pay

Set up Apple Pay, step 5

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Now that you've added a card to Apple Pay, you can start using it. But there are a couple of settings you may want to check out before you do.

Set a Default Card in Apple Pay
The first is to set your default card. You can add more than one credit or debit card to Apple Pay and if you do, you'll need to decide which you'll use by default. To do that:

  1. Tap the Settings app.
  2. Tap Passbook & Apple Pay.
  3. Tap Default Card.
  4. Select the card you want to use as your default. There's no save button, so once you've selected a card, that choice will remain unless you change it.

Enable Apple Pay Notifications
You can get push notifications about your Apple Pay purchases to help you track your spending. These notifications are controlled on a card-by-card basis. To configure them:

  1. Tap the Passbook app to open it.
  2. Tap the card you want to configure.
  3. Tap the i button in the bottom right.
  4. Move the Card Notifications slider to On/green.

Remove a Card from Apple Pay 
If you want to remove a credit or debit card from Apple Pay:

  1. Tap the Passbook app to open it.
  2. Tap the card you want to remove.
  3. Tap the i button in the bottom right.
  4. Swipe down to the bottom of the screen and tap Remove Card.
  5. You'll be asked to confirm the removal. Tap Remove and the card will be deleted from your Apple Pay account.