Apple Pay – Everything you need to know

On September 11, 2014


Apple Pay

Plastic cards with magnetic strips would’ve been outdated long by now, if any of the tech giants had gotten it right with their payment solutions. None of them cracked it and now, Apple is coming forward with a wallet of its own, the Apple Pay, which it claims will revolutionize the retail market.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is a secure and fast payment technology by Apple, which works using an NFC chip on your Apple Watch or the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Instead of giving your credit card to a shopkeeper or a waitress, or without even swiping your card, you can just hold your phone near a sensor at the counter and the payment will be done for you.

How does Apple Pay work?

Apple Pay cards

First, you have to enter your credit card details on the Passbook app on your iPhone, or import it from your iTunes account. After that, just walk into a store supporting Apple Pay, buy some stuff and bill it. Now you can press on the Touch id home-button of the iPhone (or double tap the lower button on the Apple Watch) and hold it near the sensor;  And within seconds, you’ll get a tactile sensation indicating that the money has been transferred. You needn’t unlock or even wake your iPhone. It is that simple.

Behind the scene, your credit card info is used by Apple to make the payment to the retailer in a secure way (more below) and you needn’t know a thing.

Is it secure?

Well, comparing to carrying around cash in your pocket or handing your credit card to a stranger, I would say Apple Pay is far more safer. The Credit Card details, just like your fingerprint script, is not stored on any Apple servers, but instead only locally within the A8 chip. It seems impossible for any hacker or even Apple to access that info.

While making the payment, Apple doesn’t transfer the credit card details to the sensor, but instead creates a proxy card and pin and uses it. Neither the retailer knows about your credit card nor does Apple know about what you purchased.

And the integration of the fingerprint sensor in authentication makes it impossible for thieves to make use of Apple Pay. Also you can use iCloud‘s Find My iPhone feature to disable any further payments from your account, just as easily.

However at this point, how Apple manages to maintain a similar security to Apple Watch mediated purchases is still a mystery. We know that if just the watch is stolen, it wouldn’t be able to make the purchases on its own. However if both the iPhone and Apple Watch gets stolen, it seems that the thief can use it to make purchases. But Apple surely must have thought this through and we’ll have more details once the service comes out.

Where are the Apple Pay supported?

Apple Pay icon

These are some of the popular retailers already supporting Apple Pay:

Babies R Us
Disney Store
Duane reade
Toys R Us

Apple Pay with Apps

Not only can you use Apple Pay with the Stores but also to make purchases within the iPhone apps. Right now, the supported apps are limited to Groupon, Instacart, MLB, OpenTable, StarBuks, Sephora, Panera, and Uber.

Which all banks and credit cards are supported?

Apple Pay supports all Visa, MasterCard and Amex credit cards. These are the banks supported.

Apple Pay Banks


Apple Pay is compatible with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Your Apple Watch will be able to pair with these phones and make payments too. However if you have an iPhone 5, iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C, you will be able to Apple Pay via an Apple Watch only.

Apple Pay compatibility

When is it coming?

Although we don’t have an exact date, Apple promises it to be released sometime in October. The supported stores will soon receive the sensors and will start taking orders via Apple Pay by then. More banks, retailers and apps are coming soon and Apple hopes that its service could benefit 83% of all credit card payments.

That’s all we know about the Apple Pay feature and by far, it seems to be a better solution than dozens of others we’ve seen before. Only time will tell if Apple Pay will rule them all or we will be left without a winner. Read more on Apple Pay.