With the introduction of the new Apple Pay service on October 20, 2014, Apple has once again redefined how everyday people handle an all too common activity in their lives - paying for purchases at retail stores and online. Thanks to Apple, using cash or handing over a traditional plastic credit or debit card to a salesperson in order to make a payment is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Now, anytime a purchase needs to be made at a participating retail store or restaurant, instead of using cash or a credit/debit card to pay for that purchase, a customer simply needs to hold their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus (or soon their Apple Watch) up to a cash register, select which credit/ or debit card they want to use (based on those that have been stored within the device’s Passbook app), and then confirm the purchase using their device’s Touch ID sensor to scan their fingerprint.
When a payment needs to be made at a retail store, the iPhone will turn itself on and activate the Apple Pay feature. Users can select a default credit/debit card to make their purchase with, or quickly swipe to a different card that’s stored within the Passbook app. Upon placing a finger on the smartphone’s Touch ID sensor, within a few seconds, the payment will be made, and the iPhone will vibrate, plus generate a beep, to indicate the secure transaction has been completed.
In addition to being used to make purchases in a retail environment, Apple Pay can be used with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3 to make online purchases when shopping from compatible websites, or to make in-app purchases directly from the mobile device. Once it’s released in early 2015, Apple Watch will be able to be used with Apple Pay in order to make in store purchases, as long as the watch is paired with a compatible iPhone model.
Not only does Apple Pay make handling retail and online purchases faster, it’s also more secure and private. When Apple Pay is used, the merchant no longer gains access to the customer’s name or actual credit/debit card details, and there’s no need for the merchant to ever verify your identity by asking you to show a driver’s license, as is sometimes necessary when presenting your credit/debit card.
What’s nice about this new payment service is that it can be set up by iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3 users in minutes, and the service utilizes existing credit and/or debit card account(s). There’s no need to open a new credit card or bank account, or in any way change existing accounts. It’s important to understand, however, that while the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus can be used with Apple Pay to make in-store, in-app, or online purchases, the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 users can currently only use Apple Pay to make in-app or online purchases.
As you’d expect, when Apple launched the Apple Pay service, it was supported from day one by more than 220,000 retail stores and restaurants, representing more than 30 popular chains, such as: Apple Store, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Subway, and Walgreens. Many additional retail chains are planning to add support for Apple Pay by late 2014 or early 2015. Thus, it has already become common for customers to see signs next to cash registers that say Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and/or Apple Pay accepted.
Meanwhile, many well-known online merchants, such as Fancy, Groupon, OpenTable, Target, Uber, JackThreads, Sephora, and Ticketmaster, are or will soon be accepting Apple Pay to make purchases using a fingerprint scan on an iOS mobile device, which eliminates the need to manually enter your name, shipping address, billing address, email address, and credit/debit card details.
Setting Up Apple Pay on an iPhone or iPad is Easy
To begin using the Apple Pay service, your compatible iPhone or iPad needs to have iOS 8.1 installed and running. To download and install this update, which was released on October 17, 2014, make sure your iOS mobile device is connected to the Internet, launch Settings, tap on the General option, and then tap on the Software Update option. Tap on the Download and Install Update option, and follow the on-screen prompts.
Once iOS 8.1 is running on your iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3, you can opt to use the credit or debit card you already have linked to your Apple ID to be the default or primary credit or debit card used with Apple Pay. To do this, you’ll simply need to manually enter the security code associated with that card once.
To add a different or additional debit or credit cards to be used with Apple Pay into your mobile device, launch Passbook and follow the on-screen prompts. This can also be done from within Settings. When asked to enter your new card information, you can either enter the card details manually, or scan the card using the iSight camera that’s built into the iPhone or iPad. This only needs to be done once per card.
Initially, within the United States, Apple Pay supports Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards, as well as debit cards issued by many popular U.S banks. Additional banks and financial institutions will be adding compatibility with Apple Pay by the end of 2014. The service does not currently support Discover credit cards.
After your credit/debit card details are loaded into Passbook, the Apple Pay feature will launch when you’re in close proximity to a cash register and making a purchase, when you’re viewing the checkout screen of a website, or when making an in-app purchase. A purchase is only completed when you confirm it by placing your finder on the smartphone or tablet’s Touch ID sensor.
Some people find it useful to initially scan their thumb and/or index finger from one or both hands into their iPhone or iPad, so it’s easier to use the Touch ID sensor regardless of how the device is being held. To scan additional fingerprints into your device, launch Settings, tap on the Touch ID & Passcode option, enter your passcode, and then tap on the Add a Fingerprint option. When prompted, place your desired finger on the Touch ID sensor and then reposition it as directed, until the scan is completed, and your fingerprint is stored within your device.