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Apple Pay

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay lets you use one of your Apple devices to pay for goods and services, both online and in person

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 05 March 2021

Holding Iphone over contactless card reader to pay using Apple Pay

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Apple Pay is a way to make cashless payments by tying bank cards to your Apple account. You can then use compatible Apple devices to pay for goods and services – both online and in the flesh.

It works with any Apple device that runs iOS 8.1 or newer including:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Apple Watch
  • MacBook

How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay lets you securely tie your bank cards – credit cards or debit cards – to your Apple ID. These cards are all kept in an app called Apple Wallet, which you can then use to pay for whatever you like.

When you’re paying in person, Apple Pay uses the near-field communication (NFC) chip in your device to transfer funds using contactless payment. Some vendors allow transactions of up to £45 in this manner, though others have begun to waive this limit.  

You can also use Apple Pay for online shopping and in-app purchases. Most app vendors now accept Apple Pay for transactions, while Apple allows you to tie your Wallet to its Safari web browser – so you can make third-party payments quickly without having to set up another account.

Londoners can also tie Apple Pay to their Transport for London account, allowing them to pay for public transport across the whole network.

What do you need to use Apple Pay?

  • A compatible device with a Touch ID sensor
  • iOS 8.1 or newer
  • A debit or credit card from a participating bank
  • An Apple ID that’s activated on iCloud

How secure is Apple Pay?

Apple claims that Apple Pay and the Wallet app are very secure. Your card details are not stored on your device. Instead, each transaction generates a unique, encrypted code that is sent to your phone.

This means if your device is stolen, the thief cannot access your bank account. You can then access iCloud or tell your bank to remove your cards from stolen devices.

Find out more about credit card security here.

Which debit and credit cards support Apple Pay?

Apple Pay works with most banks and card providers these days, including:

  • American Express
  • Barclays
  • First Direct
  • HSBC
  • Halifax
  • Lloyds
  • MBNA
  • M&S
  • NatWest
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander
  • Tesco Bank
  • TSB
  • Ulster Bank
  • Co-Operative bank

If you’re not sure, ask your bank if it supports Apple Pay.

Where can I use Apple Pay?

You can use Apple Pay wherever contactless payments are accepted. This means shops, restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and Transport for London.

You can also use it on apps and websites displaying the Apple Pay logo.

How do you set up Apple Pay?

There isn’t an Apple Pay app as such – it’s part of Apple Wallet. This is built into all modern Apple devices, and allows users to store debit and credit card details, as well as boarding passes, coupons and event tickets.

If you've already got a credit or debit card linked to your Apple ID, for instance for making iTunes purchases, you can add it to your Wallet. You’ll need to re-enter the card’s security code, and possibly complete more security steps as directed by your bank.

You can also add a new card to your account. To do this, open Wallet, tap “add a credit or debit card” and follow the steps to add a new card. This involves either taking a photo of your card or typing in its details.

Apple Wallet allows you to add as many cards as you like. You can pick which card it will use as the default for payments, but you can also select other cards as and when you want to use them.

To add a card to your Apple Watch, you’ll need to use your iPhone. Open the Watch app on your iPhone, and go to the My Watch tab. Tap “Wallet & Apple Pay”, and follow the steps to add a card.

How do I use Apple Pay?

Contactless payments

You can tap your Apple Pay-enabled devices on contactless payment devices in shops, restaurants and on TfL terminals. You don’t need to unlock your device or log in to Wallet to use Apple Pay.

To make a payment, hold your iPhone or Apple Watch over the contactless reader and press your finger on the Touch ID button, which authorises the payment using your fingerprint. Owners of newer devices can also pay using Face ID: double-press the side button and then glance at your phone to activate it.

If you’re paying with an Apple Watch you’ll need to double-click the side button when the device is unlocked to make the payment.

In-app payments

You can use Apple Pay to make in-app purchases wherever you see the Apple Pay logo.

To make a payment either tap the ‘Buy with Apple Pay’ button or the ‘Apple Pay’ button, or choose Apple Pay as the payment method at the checkout. On your iPhone or iPad, place your finger on Touch ID. On your Apple Watch, double-click the side button.

Website payments

If you’re using the Safari browser you can use Apple Pay on websites showing the Apple Pay logo.

To make a payment either tap the ‘Buy with Apple Pay’ button or the ‘Apple Pay’ button, or choose Apple Pay as the payment method at the checkout.

On your iPhone, iPad or MacPro with Touch ID, place your finger on Touch ID. On your Apple Watch, double-click the side button.

What’s the difference between Google Pay and Apple Pay?

Google Pay and Apple Pay are very similar. Which one is right for you will largely depend on the type of smartphone or device you want to use to make payments.


Apple Pay

Google Pay


All iPhone models with face or touch ID (except the iPhone 5s). All iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, and iPad mini models with Touch ID or Face ID. Mac models with touch ID, as well as those introduced in 2012 or later with an Apple Pay-enabled iPhone or Apple Watch.


Any Google device with NFC technology running Google 4.4 KitKat or above.

Wearable devices

Apple Watch 1st Generation, Series 1, Series 2 or later.

Any NFC-enabled smartwatch.

Participating banks

All of the major banks.

Most major banks, but not Barclays.

Fingerprint authentication



Contactless payments

Wherever the contactless payment logo is displayed: up to £45.

Wherever the contactless payment logo is displayed: up to £45 (or more with further verification).


Transport for London



In-app payments

Wherever the Apple Pay logo is displayed.

Wherever the Google Pay logo is displayed.

Web payments

Wherever the Apple Pay logo is displayed.

Wherever the Google Pay logo is displayed.


Built-in Wallet app.

Google Pay from Google’s Play Store.

Account required



Can be disabled remotely





For more information about making contactless transactions using credit and debit cards, take a look at our comprehensive guides to contactless payments and credit card security. MoneySuperMarket can also make it easy to find the right card to buy items and services both in person and online by allowing you to compare credit cards from a broad range of providers.

Compare credit cards supported by Apple Pay

MoneySuperMarket offers a range of credit cards from numerous providers, including many which support Apple Pay.

Our Eligibility Checker tool uses your details to do a ‘soft’ search, so we can show you which cards you’re eligible for without harming your credit score.

Just give us a few details about you, your finances and the type of card you want, and we’ll search the cards available from a wide range of lenders so you can browse the options available.


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