How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay allows you to pay for goods and services in some of Britain’s biggest chains by simply tapping your iPhone against a special terminal.

Girl using Apple phone

Announced at Apple’s Annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in 2015, Apple Pay means you can make contactless payments from your Apple device to buy a coffee, stock up on groceries and travel on the London Underground.

We’ve taken a look at Apple Pay and will guide you through the must-knows for this innovative technology.

How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay allows payments to be made through recent Apple devices. It is compatible with iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPhone SE, and later models as well as iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and iPad Mini 3.  It can also be used with Apple’s iPhone 7, which will be launched this September.

You tap your device onto a payment terminal in shops and retailers that support contactless payments.

After tapping, you are prompted to press your finger on the TouchID button to verify your identity.

Once the payment has been processed, your device will vibrate and beep to confirm the payment has been made. It uses an in-built near field communication antenna which detects the payment terminal, so you don’t need to open an app or even the display screen.

For Apple Watches, it’s a double click of the side button beside the dial.

Participating banks have confirmed that payments will be capped at £30 per transaction, as they are for contactless payments by bank card.

How do I set up Apple pay?

The Wallet app that stores all your boarding passes and ticket details is where you’ll need to register your card details.

If you have a bank card linked to your iTunes account you can move the details over to your Wallet by entering your iTunes log-in along with your bank card’s three digit security code.

Additional cards can be added by tapping the Plus button in Wallet and following the instructions to input your card details.

For compatible iPads, bank cards can be added by opening Settings, tapping ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’, then tapping ‘Add Credit or Debit Card’ and following the instructions to register.

Alternatively if you have the iSight-enabled camera you can take a snap of your card and Apple will link the details to your Wallet.

Once set up, a unique Device Account Number is created which means your actual card details are never stored on your device or on Apple’s servers.

Which banks are supporting it?

Apple Pay will work with UK credit and debit cards from American Express, Mastercard and Visa Europe.

All the largest High street banks including Halifax, HSBC, Natwest, Nationwide, RBS, Barclays, Santander, Lloyds Bank, TSB and the Co-operative Bank have all signed up for the service alongside many others.

Where can I use Apple Pay?

The UK was the first location outside the US to launch Apple Pay.

As contactless payments are already supported by a large range of stores in the U.K, it has been an easy process getting Apple Pay payments processed

Similarly, Apple Pay can be used to complete in-app purchases so you’ll avoid having to repeatedly tap in your card details when making a transaction within an app.

Thetrainline, Argos, British Airways, Just Eat and Ocado are just of few of the many apps that allow you to complete your purchase with Apple Pay.

How secure is Apple Pay?

Apple has confirmed that card details are not stored on device software, and every time a transaction is made a one-time unique dynamic security code is generated.

Payment information that is captured by your device is stored in the ‘Secure Element’, a certified chip that is isolated from iOS or Watch OS operating systems, that won’t link to your iCloud either.

Recent purchases can be seen in your Wallet, but that’s the only payment-related information that can be accessed from your display screen. 

If your phone is lost you can deactivate Apple Pay by accessing Find my iPhone and switching on the Lost Mode. This will suspend the use of Apple Pay without cancelling your cards.

If your phone is stolen, you can remove the ability to make payments by erasing the device remotely either through Find My iPhone or

Are there any mobile payment alternatives for non-Apple devices?

This year Android Pay entered the U.K market. Android Pay is available on all Android phones and tablets that are NFC enabled and are running the Android 4.4 software or later. Like Apple Pay it can also be used in all contactless- enabled stores.

Samsung pay is also expected to launch later this year.

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