Most of us have experienced the inconvenience of having left the house without our wallet.

It used to be the case that being out in the world without cash, credit cards, or proper identification left a person feeling completely vulnerable. But with smartphones now assisting with a bulk of our daily activities, going an entire day without a wallet can be no big deal.

There’s an argument to be made that bringing a wallet full of credit cards and cash anywhere is unnecessary thanks to revolutionary payment options like Apple Pay.

Launched in 2014, Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet that allows users to make payments right from their iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac or iPad.

So exactly how does Apple Pay work?

Using Apple Pay is effortless. You can make secure purchases in stores, in downloaded apps and games, online or even send and receive money directly through iMessage.

There’s no additional app to download – Wallet is installed on all Apple devices – and using Apple Pay from your iPhone or Apple Watch is faster than pulling out a debit or credit card every time you want to buy a pack of gum, movie ticket or a new flat screen for the family room.

Enabling Apple Pay in the Wallet app also offers bonus features including storing boarding passes when traveling, loading movie and concert tickets, gift cards and store loyalty programs. Congratulations! You can finally take all those annoying plastic tags off your key chain.

Apple Pay doesn’t even need cell or WiFi service to work. Payment information is stored on the phone. You can even make purchases in Airplane mode.

Here’s how to set up an Apple Pay account:

  1. Launch the Wallet app on your iPhone, iPad or Apple watch.
  2. Tap the blue plus sign in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. If you haven’t enabled Touch ID yet, the directions will prompt you to do so now which will take you to the Settings screen.
  4. After enabling both Touch ID and your numerical security Passcode to unlock your phone, add your card to Wallet by positioning the card in the photo frame or choose “Enter Card Details Manually” if you don’t have the card on hand.
  5. Wallet will then request for you to manually input the name on the card.
  6. Next, add the three-digit security code found on the back of the card.
  7. Apple Pay will ask for your preferred delivery method – either email, text or a call to your bank from the app – for verification purposes.
  8. Input the received verification code. If you choose Text, the phone will automatically input the code and verify.
  9. Click CONTINUE and you’re all set!

Apply Pay is ready to use the next time you visit your favorite vintage dress shop, record store or pharmacy!

As an extra measure of safety, most banks will text or email alerting you to the fact that your debit or credit card has been added to Apple Pay.

Since we’re on the topic of security, let’s discuss the safety measures put into place for Apple Pay.


How secure is Apple Pay and what happens if my device gets lost or stolen?

Let’s talk about the most prominent reasons some consumers are hesitant to use Apple Pay or similar digital payment methods – safety and security concerns.

With data breaches in the news almost weekly, consumers can be a little on edge about putting their personal and financial data out into the digital universe. The primary reasons for concern are:

First, the ease of use may imply that it’s easy to breach. Apple Pay uses a near field communication (NFC) antenna to deduct specific amounts of money from your account with just the tap of a screen.

But rest assured. The payment function uses Device ID technology and Touch ID. The biometric fingerprint readout authorizes the payment. If your fingerprint is not recognized during the transaction, the payment will not be processed. And as you know, your fingerprints are completely unique to you.

The second concern is in the event an iPhone or Apple Watch is ever lost or stolen, the person in possession of the device may have easy access to a checking or credit card account information.

In the case of your phone getting lost or stolen, users can lock down Apple Pay remotely.

On another Apple device, or from any computer, just click “Find My iPhone” and change the device settings to “Lost Mode.”

Apple Pay will stop working and your phone will be locked down to keep thieves and curious strangers away from your data.

Using Apple Pay is as simple to use as it is to set-up

Here’s how to use Apple Pay on various devices:

For iPhone X users

Simply double-click the side button on your device, use the facial recognition to tell Face ID “yup, it’s me buying my third cup of coffee today” and hold the phone near the contactless reader.

For older iPhone models

Hold the device near the reader with your finger placed firmly on the Home button. Again, make sure the Touch ID function is enabled on your device.

For Apple Watch users

Double-click the side button and hold the watch display near the contactless reader. Once you feel a gentle vibration, it means the transaction is complete. The other parts of your body vibrating could mean to slow down on the coffee.

Where can I use Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is accepted nearly everywhere – from grocery stores, clothing stores, bars and even vending machines. An extensive list of retailers accepting Apple Pay is available on the company website.

If you’re on the move, or in a different city than home, finding businesses who accept Apple Pay is as simple as getting directions. It even involves the same app.

In the Maps app, search “Apple Pay near me” to get a quick list of places in the surrounding area that will accept Apple Pay or tap on a business’s info card to check for more information.

Apple Pay is now the preferred payment service on eBay, with online and brick and mortar shops like CVS also beginning to adopt the payment system.

Are there any banks that won’t work with Apple Pay?

Apple Pay currently supports credit and debit cards from over 300 banks in the United States and abroad including industry leaders such as Capital One, Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo to name a few.

You can find a full list of participating banks on the Apple Pay website or contact your local bank branch, call customer service or check official bank website for more detailed information.

Apple Pay vs. the other mobile wallet apps

According to new data from the Auriemma Consulting Group, Apple Pay is the dominant force in debit card payments. The company conducted a study and found that “77% of mobile wallet transactions used Apple Pay.”

PCMag recently ranked Apple Pay as one of the best mobile payments apps available, with Venmo earning the top honor and PayPal earning strong marks.

Even though it’s the go-to option for shopping, Apple Pay does have its drawbacks.

Apple Pay Cash is the peer-to-peer option for paying coworkers, siblings, and roommates and involves another download and set-up.

Sending money to friends or family is possible, even if they haven’t enabled Apple Pay on their device, however, if an individual doesn’t own an Apple device, you’re unable to use Apple Pay or Apple Cash for a monetary transaction.

Is Apple Pay the best way to shop?

With new retailers adding the payment option almost daily and the ease of payment involving just a fingerprint and tap of the phone, Apple Pay is one of the easiest and safest ways to pay for goods and services.

The best advice is to leave your wallet at home – on purpose this time – and give the Apple Pay option a try for a while.

If you don’t like the ease and convenience or just don’t like the tapping screens option, just delete your credit card information from the Wallet app.

We’re confident once you try Apple Pay a few times, you’ll be using it for every daily transaction.

Even that ill-advised fourth cup of coffee.