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Your iPhone may some day be the only device you need to purchase products and services, but first you need to start using Apple Pay.

Over three years ago, I replaced my wallet with my iPhone and a case How To Use Your Smartphone As Your Personal Wallet How To Use Your Smartphone As Your Personal Wallet The recent launch of Google Wallet is another indication of how practical and useful smartphone technology has become in just a few short years. Many people carry their phones with them everywhere they go. Based... Read More , which holds up to three debit cards. Now I look forward to the day when I don’t have to carry physical cards at all. Apple Pay and other similar services may ultimately make that happen. Here’s how to set up the service on your supporting Apple device.

What Is Apple Pay

Apple Pay is an iOS 8 service supported only on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the forthcoming Apple Watch that allows customers to pay  for merchandise and services using their qualifying and installed debit and credit cards. iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 owners can use Apple Pay to pay for goods within apps, but not in bricks and mortar stores.

At this time, only the following banks and credit card networks (including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express) support Apple Pay:

Apple Pay_banks

Apple Pay is not supported by PayPal, and it only currently works with U.S. banks. Also, at this time, Apple Pay can be used in about 50 national store chains, including McDonald’s, Apple Store, Wallgreens, and Macy’s. No supermarket chains, besides Whole Foods Market, have signed up, nor is Walmart supporting Apple Pay.

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Setting Up Apple Pay

Setting up Apple Pay is a straight forward process. If have you have a supported credit/debit card, add it to your device by opening the Settings app, and tapping on Passbook & Apple Pay > Add Credit or Debit Card. You can either scan the card, or if that doesn’t work, input the transaction data yourself.

Apple-Pay_setup

After your cards are added, they will show up in the default Passbook app, which can also include other iOS Passbook supported apps, such as Starbucks, United Airlines, Target, and the event finder app, Eventbrite.

Passbook

Using Apple Pay

Apple Pay works within supporting retail stores that have a near-field communication (NFC) device installed. The NFC terminal works similar to a credit card scanner, but customers don’t have to swipe their cards. To use the remote transaction, look for an Apple Pay icon on the payment system at the cash register.

Point your iPhone or other supporting device toward the machine to pay for the merchandise. Apple Pay will pop up and request your touch ID for okaying the transaction. You don’t need to open Passbook, and your device doesn’t even need to be awake when it integrates with the NFC terminal. After the transaction is complete, you’ll feel a little vibration on your device to indicate the completion of the process.

In the three instances I’ve used it so far, there was one occasion when the transaction still required me to punch my passcode numbers in on the machine, instead wirelessly taking care of the entire process remotely.

A Word About Security

Not only is the Apple Pay process convenient for not having to pull out your card to pay for items, it also provides extra security measures that shields your card number and PIN from other merchants and scanning machines. Your credit card numbers are not even stored on Apple’s server. Instead, the process involves assigning a unique, encrypted Device Account Number in a dedicated chip within your device.

Touch ID also brings added security, because it prevents a thief from accessing your device, unless he or she knows your passcode number. If you want, you can disable access to Apple Pay and Passbook when your device is in locked position.

Wallet Free?

So does Apple Pay mean you won’t need to carry your credit or debit cards? Unfortunately not at this point. The payment process is not yet supported by many of the stores and services you use on a regular basis, including most supermarkets, gas stations, local shops, and so on.

I still keep my cards with my iPhone using the DistilUnion wallet case, and I have a photo of my driver’s license on my phone. My physical driver’s license, which I rarely have to use, is tucked securely away secure in my car.

Apple Pay also doesn’t keep track of your spending, so you might want to make use of a personal finance service like Mint.com Mint.com On the iPad Makes It Easy To Track Your Spending Mint.com On the iPad Makes It Easy To Track Your Spending If one of your New Year's resolutions is to do better at budgeting your money and monitoring your personal finances, Mint.com is one of the best ways to meet these goals. This popular and well-established... Read More .

Have you tried Apple Pay yet?

  1. Gordon
    April 4, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Winn Dixie markets now take Apple Pay.

  2. William
    April 2, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Too bad Alaska USA Credit Union isn't supported, was hoping for it to happen sooner this month.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      William, thanks for letting us know this. You might want to write Apple services and request that that credit union be added.

  3. Travis
    November 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    I would like to make a correction. A supermarket chain is usable with apple pay, and that is Meijer. Meijer stood up to CurrentC makers and said they will continue to allow apple pay in its stores, and will not disable NFC despite MCX telling them to.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 26, 2014 at 12:48 am

      Travis, thanks for letting us know this. I didn't see Meijer listed. Maybe I should check my own local grocery store.

  4. Nathan
    November 23, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I have a 6 Plus, and it really would be nice to see ?Pay come to Canada soon as there are NFC terminals at almost every store here. My friend uses Android with Google Wallet, and in his tests (with GWallet, but I expect ?Pay to work the same) it worked at every store he tried.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 26, 2014 at 12:47 am

      Nathan, interesting point. It's kind of odd that they haven't set up in Canada yet, many of the stores already have NFC terminals. Thanks for letting us know.

  5. Me
    November 23, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Harris teeter grocery store takes apple pay

  6. Lochias
    November 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Cute use of "catching up."
    Google wallet was a nice advance on the 2007 Nokia system, but they are both fundamentally unsound in not dealing with today's security and privacy issues. With cards getting stolen 70.000.000 at a time these days, that ought to be a priority.

    Apple pay is so far the only EMV compliant system. Wallet was a brilliant workaround / kludge, but a kludge nonetheless.

    it's also, in my experience, quite awkward, with its extra steps and pin. If you want to use a pin, why not just a contactless card?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 26, 2014 at 12:45 am

      Lochias, I'm also find the ApplePay process inconsistent in how fast it completes the process. It took more than 30 seconds at Subway. And at Walgreens, it asked me to steal punch in my pin code.

  7. Mike
    November 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Even though Apple is actually going through with the technology and doing it in a more secure way than Google ever tried to do with Google Wallet.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 26, 2014 at 12:41 am

      My only problem is, is that some stores, the process is not any faster than pulling out your card. I used it ApplePay at Subway yesterday, it took more than 30 seconds for the process to complete. Seems like it got stuck.

  8. Tom
    November 22, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    It's nice to see Apple catching up with an Android feature from 2012... it's cute.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 26, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Lol, true. Same goes for the third-party keyboards.

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