How to Use Apple Pay On the Apple Watch

Fly through checkout lines wearing only your watch. (Clothes might help, too.)

Person in denim shirt using Apple pay.
Apple

Apple Pay is a feature that allows you to tap your phone on the register in a store to make a payment.

Apple brought that same functionality to the Apple Watch, but it works a little differently than it does on your phone. If you’d like to try your hand (or wrist, in this case) at using Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, here’s how to make it happen.

Mirror Apple Pay On Your Watch

If you’re already using Apple Pay on your iPhone 6 or above, then setting up Apple Pay is super simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Apple Watch app on your phone.
  2. Select Wallet & Apple Pay from the available menu options.
  3. Check the box marked Mirror my iPhone to have your Watch mimic your iPhone’s payment settings. This tells your watch to use the same debit card information already stored on your iPhone. For example, if you have your Bank of America debit card set up with Apple Pay on your phone, that same card will now work on your Apple Watch as well.

Set Up Apple Pay Directly To The Watch

If you aren’t already using Apple Pay, you can set it up from within the Apple Watch app. Follow these steps:

  1. Tap Add Credit or Debit Card on the screen.
    1. Use the credit or debit card you already have on file with iTunes by just inputting the security code from the back of the card when prompted.
    2. Depending on your bank, you might also have to complete an extra verification step, which could include entering a special code sent to you via text or email.
  2. If you'd rather use a different card, you can add a new card by tapping Add a Credit or Debit Card on the screen and including the requested information. You can also add loyalty cards to your virtual wallet.

How to Pay

When you’re ready to use Apple Pay at a retailer, simply double tap the side button on the Watch, and then hold your Apple Watch up to the card reader with the face of your watch facing the card reader.

If you have several cards saved within Apple Pay, you can swipe across the screen of your watch to select the one you’d like to use. The card displayed on the Watch face is the one that will be charged.

Woman Paying using Apple Watch and Electronic Reader
Pay quickly at the register and get on with your life.  Onfokus/iStock unreleased/Getty Images Plus

Once you hold it up to the register, you’ll hear a beep and feel a gentle tap-vibration on your wrist when it has successfully received your payment information. Once you feel that tap you’re free to move your wrist away.

If you’re using a credit card, then that’s likely all you’ll need to do. Depending on the amount of your purchase, a retailer might ask you to sign a receipt, just as if you had used a traditional plastic card. Likewise, if you’re using a debit card, you might need to input your PIN number, just as if you had swiped your card. 

Places That Take Apple Pay

Quite a few businesses currently accept Apple Pay as a form of payment, with more and more being added every day. In general, if the retailer you’re visiting has a symbol on their card reader that looks like a sideways WiFi symbol, then they can accept contactless payments from your iPhone and Apple Watch (many also accept Android Pay, if you have friends that are Android users that want to get in on the action as well).

Apple Pay symbols.
Apple Pay is accepted wherever you see one of these symbols. ​

Some of the major retailers that currently accept Apple Pay as a form of payment include: Aeropostale, American Eagle, Bi-Lo, Bloomingdales, Foot Locker, Fuddruckers, Jamba Juice, Lego, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Office Depot, Petco, Panera Bread, Sephora, Staples, Walgreens, and Whole Foods.

You can check out a full list of supported major retailers here, as well as see some of the retailers who have signed on to support the payment option in the near future.