Over the years, our phones have begun to contain more information. Some people have claimed that our entire lives will eventually be at the palm of our hands. A perfect example of this can be seen with Apple Pay, which is exclusive to iOS devices. Apple Pay is a way to pay without having to carry physical credit cards.

What is Apple Pay?

You’ve probably seen ads on television or internet for Apple Pay but remain unsure about what it is. If you’ve seen these ads and wondered, “What is Apple Pay?” or “How does Apple Pay work?” you’re in luck.  

Apple Pay allows for in-app payments from a mobile device via near field communication, or NFC. When two devices are in close proximity to one another, NFC technology allows them to communicate. In terms of Apple Pay, NFC technology allows your phone to communicate with payment terminals in stores.  

NFC technology was introduced in the early 2000s, but only lately has it been used as a method of payment. The technology is encrypted, making it very secure. It takes advantage of radio-frequency identification, which has been around for decades.

Apple Pay is very fast, which is one of the main benefits offered to users. Recently customers have had to use microchips with their credit cards, which are secure but very slow. Apple Pay is much faster than standard credit card transactions while offering the same security as microchip credit cards.

Apple Pay is exclusive to iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. Similar technology, like Android Pay and Samsung Pay, are available on their respective devices. Square offers NFC payment terminals to retailers and can provide additional information about NFC technology.

How to Use Apple Pay

Apple Pay is simple to use. Once the initial set-up is complete, iOS users will be ready to use the technology at their favorite retailers.

If you would like to use Apple Pay in-store, make sure the payment terminal has one of these symbols. For a payment to be successful, it’s recommended that your device is within two inches of the payment terminal. Once the transaction is complete, the screen will display the word “Done.” The transaction terminal will also display a checkmark to indicate the transaction was successful.

Although Apple Pay thrives because of its NFC technology, it can also be used on the web and in apps. Much like in-store payments, this improves security and cuts down on transaction time. Users don’t have to spend time entering their credit card information into individual forms when checking out. With the click of a button, the transaction is processed.  

Apple Support offers additional information on how to use Apple Pay. You may notice an Apple Pay limit for transactions over $50. If this is the case, you’ll be asked to provide a signature.

Which iPhones Are Compatible?

Your device must be running the latest version of iOS to use Apple Pay. Apple Pay iPhone can be found on the following phone models

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE

Setting Up Apple Pay

Users will enter their credit card information into the app. They are then ready to go. They can enter as many credit and debit cards as they’d like, and can also enter rewards or gift cards. Users can change their default form of payment at any time. Macworld offers a step-by-step guide to set up Apple Pay.

  1. Open the Apple Pay application on your iOS device
  2. In the bottom right-hand corner, you’ll see a “+.”
  3. Tap the +, and then tap “Continue.”
  4. The app will take you to a screen that says “Add Card,” and prompt you to take a picture of the card you wish to add
  5. A screen with your card information, including name and card number, will appear
  6. Correct any information that is incorrect. When fixed, select “Next.”
  7. Confirm that the expiration date is correct
  8. Enter the three-digit security code, which can be found on the back of your card
  9. Apple Pay will then confirm and process your card.
    1. You may notice a pending charge for a few cents listed on your credit card transactions. You will not be charged, and this will go away after a few days.
  10. You can repeat this process by selecting the + again

Apple Pay has partnered with Visa, Discover, Mastercard, and American Express, which means that most users will be able to add their primary card without a problem.

Where is Apple Pay Accepted?

Now that you’ve set up Apple Play, the next looming question is, “Who accepts Apple Pay?” Apple Pay and NFC technology have been increasing in popularity, with more stores adding terminals. It’s always recommended that you confirm a store has Apple Pay before leaving your wallet at home. Otherwise, you could be stuck without a method of payment.

Many major retailers carry Apple Pay because the iPhone is one of the most-used smartphones in the United States. Feel free to ask your cashier or store manager if they are one of the certified Apple Pay retailers, especially if you can’t find the required symbol on the payment terminal.

Apple Pay is supported by over 220,000 stores in the United States. Below are some stores that accept Apple Pay, thanks to Gadget Hacks.  

  • Best Buy
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Cola-Cola Vending Machines
  • Express
  • Footlocker
  • GameStop
  • JetBlue
  • Macy’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Panera Bread
  • Rite Aid
  • Subway
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Walgreens
  • Walt Disney World

In addition to retail stores, Apple Pay has gained support from banks and credit unions. A year ago, it had the support of over 1,500 of the institutions. It’s reasonable that these numbers grew over the past year. Check with your local bank to see if they are compatible with Apple Pay.

Apple Pay News

There has been significant Apple Pay news of late, all of which has been good for Apple Pay users.

Apple Pay Cash

Apple Pay Cash will allow iOS users to send payments to fellow iOS users through iMessage. This was announced in June, although it was just now rolled out during the iOS 11.2 update. This feature is similar to other payment applications like PayPal and Venmo. Apple hopes that this will encourage more users to enroll in Apple Pay, as it will reduce the need to use other third-party apps.

The receiving party will receive the funds in the form of an Apple Pay Cash card, which will be treated as a gift card. The funds can be directly transferred to a user’s bank, or be kept in their Apple Pay account as a future payment method. Users can also direct Siri to send money.

Funds can be sent from a connected credit or debit card. Apple does not charge users to send payments via debit card. However, if funds are sent using a credit card, there is a 3% fee.

Users can add funds to their account by using a debit card. If they choose to do so, they must add at least $10, and no more than $3,000. They can add no more than $10,000 in any given seven-day period. Users cannot have a balance greater than $20,000 in their Apple Pay Cash account.

There is a $1 minimum to send or receive money with Apple Pay Cash. The maximum amount that can be sent or received is capped at $3,000. No more than $10,000 can be sent or received in a week.

Apple has indicated that Apple Pay Cash will not affect a user’s credit, nor will it be impacted by credit freezes. More information about Apple Pay Cash can be found here.

UK Bans Fees

The United Kingdom recently announced that shops would be forced to stop charging a fee for credit and debit card transactions. This policy applies to both online and in-store transactions and includes Apple Pay transactions.

The new policy is the result of a directive from the European Union. Other countries in Europe will soon be following suit. Apple hopes that this will help encourage new users to enroll in the Apple Pay program. NFC technology is far more advanced in Europe than in the United States, and Apple hopes to take advantage of this.

It will be interesting to see how this impacts US citizens. Merchants in the United States are allowed to add a surcharge for paying with a card, although many don’t. Whether legislation emerges to eliminate this policy remains to be seen.

The recent UK change is also beneficial to Americans who are traveling. Since phones work with any compatible NFC payment terminal, Apple Pay is a great way to pay while abroad. Not having additional fees tacked onto the transaction is great news for those traveling overseas.

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