Apple Pay - What's the deal?

If you’re anything like me you’ve started noticing that some retailers are starting to accept apple pay but what is it and how does it work? More importantly how safe and secure is it?

Launched this year in many countries, Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple that lets users make payments using the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, iPhone 7, 7 Plus, iPhone SE, and later, Apple Watch-compatible devices (iPhone 5 and later models), iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and iPad Mini 3 and later and Mac. It’s currently available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada and has recently launched in Japan.

Thanks to the NFC chip built into Apple's mobile devices. Apple Pay offers a one-step payment process that prevents the user from digging through a wallet or purse to choose debit or credit cards. This essentially eliminates the need for a wallet. Since the system is based on existing NFC technology, Apple Pay can be used in any place that accepts NFC-based contactless payments. But how does Apple Pay work with your devices?


If you encounter a payment system in store, that is compatible with Apple Pay, your iPhone’s display will automatically light up and ‘Wallet’ will open, you can select the credit card to be used, or simply pay with the default card. 

Alternatively, you make a payment by holding a compatible iPhone or the Apple Watch near the store’s card payment system that features NFC. For the payment to be authenticated, you must keep the finger that you registered with Touch ID on the home button for a few seconds, or keep the Apple Watch on your wrist. When the transaction is complete, you should see a check mark on the display, a beep, and slight vibration.

In most retail locations, checking out with Apple Pay is a quick and straightforward, one-step process. However, stores using older payment systems may require you to input a PIN code or to sign for the purchase.


Making online payments via Apple Pay is just as easy as an in store payment. The process uses the same credit card and Touch ID for authentication in participating apps that have adopted Apple Pay’s API.

Using Apple Pay in an app is perhaps more convenient as the process bypasses all the typical steps involved when making an online purchase, including providing shipping and payment details.

So, after you add an item to an online card and initiate the checkout process, you simply select Apple Pay as the method of payment. The default billing/shipping address associated with the debit or credit card used in Apple Pay will be automatically input, and the purchase is confirmed via Touch ID. At this point, you can choose to change the shipping address and other details, like when ordering a gift.


With macOS Sierra and iOS 10, you can now use Apple Pay on participating websites providing this option when checking out. 

On your Mac, purchases are verified via a connection to an iPhone or Apple Watch, so that the purchase can be authorised via Touch ID. When using your iPad or iPhone, purchases are authorised normally, via Touch ID.


According to the Apple website, when you make a purchase, Apple Pay uses a device-specific number and unique transaction code. So your card number is never stored on your device or our servers, and when you pay, your card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants.

In addition to this Apple Pay doesn’t keep transaction information that can be tied back to you. Your most recent purchases are kept in Wallet for your convenience, but that’s as far as it goes.

In the US Apple has announced this week, some exclusive discounts and offers for users of Apple Pay on the web ahead the holiday season. This promotion is seen as Apple’s way of enticing more customers to its online mobile payments service.

In its notification for the exclusive holiday promo, Apple noted that when customers shop online with Apple Pay on the Safari browser, they can obtain perks such as discounts on subscriptions and free shipping on items from certain brands.


Apple Pay hasn’t taken the world by storm just yet, but Apple’s homegrown payment service continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  As 9to5Mac reports, a recent analysis from SimilarTech indicates that Apple Pay has already become the fifth most-used online payment platform for the top 100,000 websites, lagging behind platforms like Stripe and PayPal but besting Google Wallet and Amazon Payments. And given that Apple Pay is currently only available on 1,035 websites, whereas digital payments leader PayPal is on over a million, that’s a pretty strong showing.

It’s a clear sign that with Apple Pay, Apple is aiming to establish a strong presence not only in mobile payments but digital payments in general.

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