What Is Apple Pay And How Does It Work?

What Is Apple Pay And How Does It Work, August 2021

Apple Pay is a Mobile Payments Service by the giant tech company, Apple. Available since the year 2014 in October, Apple Pay allows Apple devices users in the United States and other selected countries to pay for goods and services either in person, on the web, and also in iOS apps. Users can also send and receive money from friends and family. But how does Apple Pay work?

If you’ve been wondering how Apple Pay works, you’re in the right place because that’s exactly what we are about to discuss in this article.

How Does Apple Pay Work?

Hand of a man holding an iPhone

You can use Apple Pay at checkout to buy goods or services anywhere- from grocery stores, restaurants, boutiques, vending machines to taxis and trains.

The payment service is available in over 40 countries around the world in participating retail stores and apps.

Apple Pay has integrated Near Field Communication (NFC), which is a contactless technology that allows devices to wirelessly communicate with point of sale systems. 

NFC payments are not only faster, but they are also highly secure and convenient. Apple Pay tokenizes your bank details, which simply means that it takes the details and makes them into something unintelligible and therefore completely inaccessible to hackers.

Even better, these tokens change every single time an NFC transaction is initiated and completed. This makes the data completely impossible to extract and isolate.

Since all supported Apple devices have an NFC chip inside, it’s the chip that communicates to a card reader whenever you want to pay for your purchases.

Therefore, instead of simply swiping your debit or credit card or inserting it into a chip reader, with NFC, all you have to do is place your Apple device like iPhone or Apple Watch near a contactless card reader and pay for the goods or service.

To further enhance the safety and security of users’ payments, Apple secures payments through the use of two-factor authentication such as Touch ID or Face ID on compatible iPhones and continual skin contact for Apple Watch. Users can also use a passcode or pin to authorize payments when using Apple Pay.

When paired with the later iPhones, the Apple Watch can also be used to make payments, so you won’t necessarily need to pull out your iPhone from the pocket to make the payments.

Usually, a completed payment is typically denoted either by a checkmark on the screen, a slight vibration, and a beep. For Apple devices with Face ID for verification, a facial scan is used instead and you’ll need to double-tap on the side button of your device to confirm payment.

As stated earlier, in addition to Face ID and Touch ID verifications, Apple Pay also requires the use of PINs and passcodes for payment confirmation.

However, in some countries and stores, Apple Pay users may be asked for a PIN or passcode due to various reasons like the use of old point-of-sale machines, set laws and regulations in certain countries, as well as transaction limitations.

The good news is that a big majority of retail stores and countries do not require PINs, passcodes, or even signatures to complete payments.

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How to Set Up Apple Pay?

Two iPhones with Apple Pay on the screen

To set up the Apple Pay mobile payment service, you’ll need to have a supported Apple device.

Here is a list of all the devices that can be used with Apple Pay;

  • Mac 2012 or later models in tandem with either an Apple Pay-enabled Apple Watch or iPhone.
  • Mac models that use Touch ID for verification.
  • iPhone SE and later.
  • iPad mini 3 & 4, iPad Air 2, iPad 5th and 6th generation, iPad Pro, and iPad Pro (third generation).
  • All Apple Watch versions.

To set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, simply open the Apple Wallet app and follow the listed steps to add a new card. You can watch the demo right here.

You’ll be asked to add your preferred card that you will use with your Apple ID. Choose your preferred card and enter its security code. You may be required to download your card issuer or bank app to add a card to your Apple Wallet.

Users in mainland China may be required to create or update a six-digit passcode.

Immediately your bank verifies the card, you can begin using Apple Pay.

To use Apple Pay on Mac, you’ll need to have a model that has Touch ID or a 2012 model or later that is connected via Bluetooth to an Apple Pay supported device. Follow the instructions listed here; support.apple.com/en-us/HT204506.

To set up for other Apple devices, simply follow the instructions on this page; support.apple.com/en-us/HT204506.

PS: If you would like to use Apple Pay on more than one Apple device, then you’ll need to set it up on every single device.

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How to Use Apple Pay?

Once you have Apple Pay set up on your device, you can use it to make purchases online, in person, or in iOS apps. You also get to send and receive money from friends and family with ease.

You can pay for goods and services in any place that supports contactless payments. It’s easy to recognize a place that uses Apple Pay as you’ll see an Apple Pay symbol or a WiFi signal and a hand holding a card reaching towards the Wifi signal.

As for Apple Pay Cash and Person-to-Person payments, you can only use these services within the United States, plus they are limited to specific devices.

How Does Apple Pay Work? - Bottom Line

Apple Pay is a fast, safe, and convenient contactless payment service that eliminates the need to keep fishing out your wallet or fumbling with cash to pay for goods or services.

As long as a restaurant you’re eating at or a taxi you’re riding has the Apple Pay symbols, you’re good to go.

Hopefully, by now you understand how Apple Pay really works and can now use it to make payments safely, fast, and conveniently.

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